Health Officials Warn Against Spring Break Travel, Worry About COVID-19 Surge

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Health officials say the signs of another COVID-19 surge are showing and they’re warning that Spring Break could be the tipping point. 

Millions of Americans are desperate to travel, especially college kids like University of California, Berkeley student Meilani Parks who’s going to Hawaii with three friends.

I feel like this will be really good mentally for me because I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed with school and staying home all the time,” she said.  

Some universities are concerned enough that they canceled spring break, but UC Berkeley is not one of them.

Instead, they sent students a list of recommendations to follow if they do travel out of the Bay Area -- like getting tested before and after the trip, and self-sequestering for 10 days when you return home.

But Stanford Health Care Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Dean Winslow says the pandemic isn’t over yet and there aren’t enough people vaccinated to let our guard down. 

“As sad as it is to say that, I think right now is not the time to have the spring break experience,” said Winslow. 

Parks said she and her friends chose Hawaii for spring break because of the state’s tight COVID-19 restrictions and the number of outdoor activities they can do when they get there.

Winslow agrees outdoor activities are far less risky, but not risk-free.

“I’m going to be getting a COVID test and it has to be negative within 72 hours of traveling,” said Parks.

UCSF Infectious Diseases Expert, Dr. Monica Gandhi, recommends you choose a place like Hawaii if you do travel and says you should be very careful along the way.

“I am not saying don’t go anywhere,” Gandhi said. “I’m saying please maintain masks and distancing as you go. I understand people’s needs to see each other but we still need to keep these restrictions on until we get to mass vaccination.” 

 The Transportation Security Administration is reporting a spike in travel since vaccinations have ramped up and the agency is asking to hire 6,000 new airport security screeners because it expects a busy travel season.

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