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My husband's brother just called to let us know that his wife passed away extremely unexpectedly last night. They are in Arizona, and we are in Florida. My husband wants (needs) to go be with his brother. He is looking at driving, so he doesn't have to get on a plan (something he hates even when we're not having a worldwide pandemic) and so he will have his car available when he arrives. 

I would be grateful for any information anyone can share, especially links to any kind of official guidance, in terms of how to help him plan and make this trip under the current circumstances, 

For example: It's a 32-hour drive, so he's going to have to stay probably two nights on the road. What should he take into account in looking for places to stay?

I'm sure there's a ton more. Help?

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2 minutes ago, Jenny in Florida said:

My husband's brother just called to let us know that his wife passed away extremely unexpectedly last night. They are in Arizona, and we are in Florida. My husband wants (needs) to go be with his brother. He is looking at driving, so he doesn't have to get on a plan (something he hates even when we're not having a worldwide pandemic) and so he will have his car available when he arrives. 

I would be grateful for any information anyone can share, especially links to any kind of official guidance, in terms of how to help him plan and make this trip under the current circumstances, 

For example: It's a 32-hour drive, so he's going to have to stay probably two nights on the road. What should he take into account in looking for places to stay?

I'm sure there's a ton more. Help?

I’m sorry about your news.  I’m in Aus so may be different in US but when dh did a work trip last week he took food.  There weren’t many eating places doing take away after hours in the smaller town he was going to.

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I know this sounds crazy, but maybe your husband should consider pulling off at one of the state's rest stops along the highway and just sleep in his car - a lot of people do that.  He could use the "rest stops" or "service area" restaurants to grab a bite, use the rest rooms, and gas up.   

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I'm sorry for your loss!  We had a sudden death in our family last week and my BIL and SIL are driving up from Florida for a graveside service.  I would recommend packing disinfectant/paper towels or wipes, plenty of hand sanitizer, all the food he'll need for the trip, and a bucket in case there are no rest stops open.  I might also pack water with extra to use for hand washing (having some foaming soap might not be a bad idea).  If he stays in a hotel, I would have him open all the windows and disinfect anything he will touch (door knobs, remotes, faucets, night stand, etc) when he gets there.  I'd make sure he has clean masks to use and find some videos on mask use and hand washing and cross contamination to watch. 

I'd also remind him that any contacts he has or will have are traveling with him.  I am personally not thrilled our family is traveling in our case.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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If he's going across on I-10, he needs to be aware that some of these areas don't have a lot of food/rest stops in the best of time (we drove Austin-Phoenix,AZ-Tucson, AZ at Christmas time)

 

And I believe El Paso is considered a hot spot for coronavirus in TX if I remember the last briefing I saw.

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He probably should check with his brother about logistics once he arrives. A friends father recently died and the funeral people will only allow 10 people at the graveside service. So if the brother has grown children and grands, there may be a limit on attendees.

Also, he needs to prepare himself for the brutal truth that (ok this is going to sound really harsh and rude but I don’t mean it this way) people there may not be excited about his decision to go out there. If I had a relative in an area with lots of cases and they came to my area with fewer cases, causing me stress and extra tension (because of possible contagion) i wouldn’t be happy about it. Doubly so if I had close family who are high risk. So if he decides to go, he needs to be fairly thick skinned about reactions, because people are really really not in their best moments right now. 
 

and I’m so sorry for your loss, doubly so that it happened when a pandemic is occurring. That’s rough.

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Will he have to quarantine when he gets there (2 weeks when he gets there and another 2 weeks when he gets home)? How would that even work?  Are hotels open in the states he has to drive through? Are the rest areas open or gated off? 
 

I would make sure he plans very, very carefully. Our state requires quarantining, closed all short stay accommodations, etc. We really do not want people travelling here. 
 

I'm so sorry he (and you) has to go through this especially now. 😞 
 

Edited by MEmama
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29 minutes ago, Myra said:

I know this sounds crazy, but maybe your husband should consider pulling off at one of the state's rest stops along the highway and just sleep in his car - a lot of people do that.  He could use the "rest stops" or "service area" restaurants to grab a bite, use the rest rooms, and gas up.   

 

That might work if he weren't a tall person with a bad back who drives a MINI.

He's actually warming to the idea of flying and renting a car. So, I'm exploring that option, too.

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I am sorry for your loss, especially that it was so sudden. 

Regarding travel, you might want to look at the state highway patrol and state government websites for each state he needs to travel through. That should give info about travel restrictions and quarantine. I imagine he would be asked to quarantine upon arrival there, and upon return to Florida (at the very least). 

In addition to all above suggestions, he might want to take along a thermometer to check himself daily. And a mask(s) to wear not just for his sake, but for the comfort and wellbeing of others. 

Like fairfarmhand above, I don’t mean to sound harsh at all, but there have been many news reports of funeral services being major vectors for COVID spread. 

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1 minute ago, Seasider too said:

I am sorry for your loss, especially that it was so sudden. 

Regarding travel, you might want to look at the state highway patrol and state government websites for each state he needs to travel through. That should give info about travel restrictions and quarantine. I imagine he would be asked to quarantine upon arrival there, and upon return to Florida (at the very least). 

In addition to all above suggestions, he might want to take along a thermometer to check himself daily. And a mask(s) to wear not just for his sake, but for the comfort and wellbeing of others. 

Like fairfarmhand above, I don’t mean to sound harsh at all, but there have been many news reports of funeral services being major vectors for COVID spread. 

 

Also some areas are requiring masks. (And locally the grocery stores won't let you in without one)

Edited by vonfirmath
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Posted (edited)

I don't think he's concerned about participating in any kind of memorial service. My sister-in-law didn't want anything big in that regard, anyway. It's just that he wants to be on hand to be helpful however he can.

Fortunately, he has been really scrupulous about observing all of the stay-at-home rules here for the last few weeks. He transitioned to working from home a full week before I did and has barely left the house since mid-March, other than to do a couple of curbside pick-ups. So, we have no concerns that he might be infectious in any way.

Edited to add: He has also been wearing a mask for the last couple of weeks when he does go out.

Also, in a weird twist of silver lining, today is his last day of work before being furloughed, so his schedule is completely flexible for the indeterminate future.

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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I'm going to check, but I think that they have "closed" the border between Louisiana and Texas, so that might be a problem if he's driving.  Also, make reservations ahead of time because I don't know if all hotels are open.

Here's a link to an article about it:

https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/coronavirus/article_b7a0a1b2-7ab0-11ea-8860-5b76079e25e5.html

Edited by perkybunch
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3 minutes ago, perkybunch said:

I'm going to check, but I think that they have "closed" the border between Louisiana and Texas, so that might be a problem if he's driving.  Also, make reservations ahead of time because I don't know if all hotels are open.

Here's a link to an article about it:

https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/coronavirus/article_b7a0a1b2-7ab0-11ea-8860-5b76079e25e5.html

 

Thank you. He's actually leaning towards flying now. 

I'm trying to find any credible information about any restrictions on people coming into Arizona from another state. So far, I have skimmed all of the relevant Executive Orders and found nothing, but I'm still looking.

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Sorry for your loss.  

I am going to apologize for what I am saying now as it might be harsh.

We all want and need to be there when family dies. I totally get that. But my husband and I are someone who had hard conversations with parents that we could not go on a plane because of a time like this even if they get sick or die. It is one of the most absolute heartbreaking decisions of my life. 

From everything I hear, even truckers are having difficulty in finding places to rest or stop. Graveside services are restricted. So why would your husband go and put himself danger by driving so long when borders are closed, stores are restricted, there are places with virus hotspots, law and order is not so great with so many police down. What does he think he will achieve by going there in person ? Be a source of comfort ? Will he be a source of concern worrying others ? Is he going for himself or his brother ? I don't understand he needs to go . We all need to go, but we cannot. If he cannot think clearly, can you do that for him ?

Pandemics are not times to take unnecessary risks or be an additional source of concern for others, especially those in grief. Again, apologies for sounding harsh, but please ask yourself and him what will be gained by him going at a time like this ? 
 

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17 minutes ago, Jenny in Florida said:

Thank you. He's actually leaning towards flying now. 

I'm trying to find any credible information about any restrictions on people coming into Arizona from another state. So far, I have skimmed all of the relevant Executive Orders and found nothing, but I'm still looking.

The Executive Order says travelers "from any area with substantial community spread" are required to quarantine for two weeks. Does FL have community spread? If so, going would be pointless.

I would not fly as that's the surest way to pick up and spread contagion. If I had to go, I would drive, sleep in the woods, and only stop for gas as to minimize contact with civilzation.

Where is he going to stay when he gets there? Will he be able to isolate a relative's house? Because, even if he was home now for weeks, as soon as he has contact with anything while traveling, he has to be considered potentially infectious.

Edited by regentrude
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What a horrible situation.  I am sorry.  I cannot imagine being in that position and don't want too.  

My fear, aside from the ones already mentioned, is him getting sick and being far away.  It's a real possibility.  Even if he stays healthy, I would think about how long he will need to be gone and that that could be 1-2 months for a multitude of reasons, and then what he could bring back.  I would be worried about anyone getting sick where you are and him being away.  Perhaps it's all worth it.  Just what would be going through my mind.

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1 hour ago, Myra said:

I know this sounds crazy, but maybe your husband should consider pulling off at one of the state's rest stops along the highway and just sleep in his car - a lot of people do that.  He could use the "rest stops" or "service area" restaurants to grab a bite, use the rest rooms, and gas up.   

In Michigan rest areas are all closed...so no parking, no vending machines and NO bathroom access.....even the road side parks with pit toilets are locked and toilets are nailed shut

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29 minutes ago, Ottakee said:

In Michigan rest areas are all closed...so no parking, no vending machines and NO bathroom access.....even the road side parks with pit toilets are locked and toilets are nailed shut

I think Tennessee is the same. I may be wrong but I believe that’s the case.

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I'm truly sorry for your loss. I think all of us who have far-flung family have been grappling with these "what if" questions.

Honestly (and like others above, I'm not trying to be harsh), given the current circumstances, the kindest, most loving thing he might be able to do right now is NOT go.

Assuming he doesn't pick the virus up during his travels and bring it to the grieving family, where will he quarantine if required? Will he stay with the bereaved family? Will they need to add that worry/burden to their already considerable one? What if he does get sick there as a result? What about their exposure?

We all want to be a help and comfort to grieving family. Sometimes we can't. I would ask him to do some serious soul-searching about his decision and talk to his brother. Ask what he wants. It might be safer and ultimately far more helpful to his brother if he waits month or two and then visits.

Again, I'm sorry your family is dealing with this heartbreak in the midst of everything else.

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My husband flew in the first part of March, he said entire airports smelled like disinfectant and that he saw the plane, being wiped down. He said it seemed  much cleaner than normal, he sent a picture of his plane from CT to Detroit, it was almost empty. 
 

My brother flew home from another country in late March, he witnessed much the same thing. He said no one sat next to each other on the planes, they weren’t empty but not crowded either.

Frontier was running a deal where you could fly for just the cost of airport fees, you may have to join the discount program.

The border from LA into TX is definitely closed. Two of my cousins live in TX and commute to LA. Initially they both had difficulty getting the right paperwork to get home from work even though they are considered essential workers.  People are being turned back by TX police.

I’m sorry for your loss. I certainly understand your husband wanting to be there for his brother. 
 

 

Edited by Rachel
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Like others, I don't want to sound harsh. It's a horrible, sad situation and I understand the desire to be with family! But when you say: "My husband wants (needs) to go be with his brother," I wonder about this feeling of needing to do this.  Is it because his brother needs him? I would encourage him to explore his notion of needing to go. 

My husband's parents are elderly and live a long way away. We haven't talked about what we would do if one of them died. I could see a need for him to go, for example, if his mother died and his father was left alone and unable to cope/function.  If that is the case - your brother-in-law is alone and has no one to help him function - then I could see going with precautions. But if there is other family around to assist, well, I would try to figure out where the feeling of needing to go right now comes from. 

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If your DH makes that trip, it should IMO only be done on a Civil Turbojet aircraft.  There are too many possible issues that could come up on a road trip he is estimating will take about 32 hours each way.  Rest rooms are probably going to be a major issue. Probably he can get plenty of Take Out Food, from Fast Food restaurants Drive thrus , and from regular restaurants that are trying to survive with people coming to get food or delivering to their homes. Many hotels and motels will probably be closed. 

Now, I understand about the closeness of people in a Civil Turbojet aircraft and the possible transmission of Covid-19 or another virus. We are hoping our DD can come down here (she's in the USA) during the first half of May 2020, but, at the moment, Colombian airports are closed to International Arrivals and Departures and 2 days ago the Colombian government issued a decree extending that. The new decree does not have an end date, but one thing I believe they will require is that in the  Coach cabin, where there are 3 seats on each side of the aisle, they will prohibit passengers sitting in the Middle seats. IMO that is a wonderful idea.

And on my phone, I received an email from the President of SPIRIT AIRLINES to their customers, explaining the measures they are taking, which was quite interesting. I believe they are blocking those Middle Seats, but am not positive about that.

He should probably stay home in FL and his brother will  understand what the circumstances are and how extra complicated this is for your DH.

I am sorry for the loss and hope she did not suffer.

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I am so sorry.

Trying to be helpful not harsh but my first thought was what if he gets there and is prevented from coming back home to you for several months.  Is he prepared for that?

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I'm sorry about your SIL. If this was my family, I would support my husband in going as long as certain precautions were taken, especially to lessen community spread. It sounds like your husband isn't likely to be carrying any sickness. There is a potential he could pick up sickness there, so I'd assess how at-risk he is of it becoming serious (age, immune-compromised, underlying illnesses such as heart disease?). I would be prepared for him to completely stay at home for awhile upon his return so as not to spread anything in your community that he may have picked up.

I would advise air travel, non-stop if at all possible. American has a hub in Phoenix so look at them for a direct flight. Air travel is quicker and would have a more limited direct exposure to people based on not having to stop for gas, bathroom breaks, food, sleep, etc. Flights are very under capacity right now so your husband would most likely not be too close to any other person on the plane or in the airport, plus gate agents are spreading everyone out as much as possible. The planes are also being cleaned very well. There is more turnaround time between flights so they have more time to prepare the aircraft. Ideally your husband would have his brother pick him up, but if he needs to drive, I'd have him wipe down the rental car interior, leave windows open to air out.

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46 minutes ago, mumto2 said:

I am so sorry.

Trying to be helpful not harsh but my first thought was what if he gets there and is prevented from coming back home to you for several months.  Is he prepared for that?

I'm curious as to what could cause this happen? The only thing I can think of is if he was to get ill there and need to be hospitalized. There are some travel restrictions on air travel in/out of AZ. Right now they only pertain to people arriving from CT/NY/NJ and only involve self-quarantine. 

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I have friends flying into Arizona in a few hours after transiting through several countries and another US city to get there.  They will have no official restrictions when they arrive, and my friend said that they’re having trouble finding a long-term Airbnb to stay in because so there are lots of short-term rentals still happening.  In other words, as of right now Arizona isn’t really doing much in the way of travel restrictions.

Hotels and takeout near major airports should be open anywhere along the route.  I also have many friends who have transited through US airports in the last few weeks and they’ve all been able to stay in hotels near airports and order food to be delivered.  Personally, I’d take a non-stop flight if I were determined to go.  My friends have all dealt with cancelled flights, but they’ve found a route in the end to get where they’re going. They have also been able to rent cars.

My biggest concern with a trip like this wouldn’t be the logistics so much, but whether he could get back at the end.  I’ve had too many friends stranded because of closed borders with no way to know when they’ll be able to go home to their families.  When they travelled everything was fine, but it wasn’t when they wanted to come home. This is a time to be traveling to the place where you want to ride out coronavirus, not leaving that place.  

There’s also the concern of quarantine if someone on the flight tests positive later for coronavirus.  That just happened on a flight with some other friends on it.  

I am so very sorry for your loss, especially right now.  

Edited by Amira
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5 minutes ago, meena said:

I'm curious as to what could cause this happen? The only thing I can think of is if he was to get ill there and need to be hospitalized. There are some travel restrictions on air travel in/out of AZ. Right now they only pertain to people arriving from CT/NY/NJ and only involve self-quarantine. 

Going to be honest and say nothing has gone as expected for several months.  I hope the world returns to normal travel wise very quickly for my own life.  My first thought was a what if, and I shared it.  There are just so many possibilities that would have been unbelievable “what if’s” just six months ago that are now reality.
 

I have friends just plain stuck places where they never expected to be long term.  Much of their problems stem from a decision that in hindsight was not so urgent.   Things happen, rules change in this CV world quickly.  I am currently feeling pretty cautious about planning a two way trip.   Going and staying there, no real hesitation beyond travel safety precautions.

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Having all our elderly relatives far away, and having considered all kinds of scenarios due to that, here are some things to think about before taking a flight:

- will he get COVID19 by breathing the air inside an airplane for extended periods? There are many asymptomatic carriers around us. In my county, they specifically direct us not to be in a closed space with others for extended time because of the airborne nature of the disease. This is something to consider if he has underlying health conditions or he falls in the above 60 age group.

- will he be required to quarantine himself when he reaches arizona or not? It varies from county to county and he has to check on this.

- will he be required to quarantine when he reaches back home from arizona? 

- do you have plans to travel and be with him if he gets infected while there and is hospitalized or quarantined in arizona because of this.

- Is your BIL ok with a person who traveled log distance during a pandemic staying with him?

My friend got COVID in early march by being in the same hotel in boston where the conference which spread the disease to employees of biogen was ongoing. She had to lobby hard to get hydrochlorquine because they do not offer it automatically to confirmed cases and she had excellent health insurance. She took weeks to recover and she has always been in top physical shape. 

This is a pandemic situation, so, I suggest that you work out all the what/ifs even if things are expected to go smoothly. Sorry that your family is suffering in this situation.

 

Edited by mathnerd
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Posted (edited)

So, here's the thing: My husband is one of the most prudent, cautious people I have ever known. (Diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder just a couple of years ago, which explained A LOT.) He has been annoyingly adamant about having all of us take every possible precaution throughout this situation, including being very angry with me for a couple of days because I insisted on going to work at the office when staying home was still optional. His family has had more than its share of death and disaster, and this brother is now the only member of his nuclear family who is still around. If he looked at all of the relevant factors and determined that it was appropriate for him to make this trip, I would support his choice, exactly as I expected him to respect my decision to drive downtown to my office to work for the additional few days I did. 

That would be why I did not post asking whether folks here thought it was a good idea for him to go. That is a decision I trust him to make for himself.

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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Just now, mumto2 said:

Going to be honest and say nothing has gone as expected for several months.  I hope the world returns to normal travel wise very quickly for my own life.  My first thought was a what if, and I shared it.  There are just so many possibilities that would have been unbelievable “what if’s” just six months ago that are now reality.
 

I have friends just plain stuck places where they never expected to be long term.  Much of their problems stem from a decision that in hindsight was not so urgent.   Things happen, rules change in this CV world quickly.  I am currently feeling pretty cautious about planning a two way trip.   Going and staying there, no real hesitation beyond travel safety precautions.

That makes sense. There have been a lot of changes over the past few weeks, many of them put into place without much notice. I didn't know if there were any specifics that I hadn't heard of regarding interstate travel. I know of people stuck away from home; but it's more like "stuck". They came to visit family, decided to stay past their original departure date, and now only have a few flight options back. Technically they could leave at any time if they had to. Instead, they are choosing to stay to try to find the most optimal time to go back. 

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I don't know what part of Arizona, but if it is Tucson area, my experience as of last week (my guess is Phoenix is similiar, but perhaps someone up there will chime in): 

- grocery stores have shorter hours but are still open and with pretty good stock. So long as he gets to one before 8pm, he can get food and go to the bathroom there. 

- no real travel restrictions in the state. Rest stops along I-10 I believe are closed. There are still truck stops/gas stations that are open and have restrooms. The exit I get off of, for example still has 2 fully open gas stations and a McDonald's with (I think) 7am-10pm hours, and a hotel that is still open. 

- Driving by hotels: there are cars in the parking lot but not many, so there should be accommodation available. 

- Many many restaurants are doing carry-out, so prepared food should not be a problem. 

If there are specific questions for Tucson area you are wondering, I'd be happy and tell you whatever I know. 

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6 minutes ago, mathnerd said:

Having all our elderly relatives far away, and having considered all kinds of scenarios due to that, here are some things to think about before taking a flight:

- will he get COVID19 by breathing the air inside an airplane for extended periods? There are many asymptomatic carriers around us. In my county, they specifically direct us not to be in a closed space with others for extended time because of the airborne nature of the disease. This is something to consider if he has underlying health conditions or he falls in the above 60 age group.

- will he be required to quarantine himself when he reaches arizona or not? It varies from county to county and he has to check on this.

- will he be required to quarantine when he reaches back home from arizona? 

- do you have plans to travel and be with him if he gets infected while there and is hospitalized or quarantined in arizona because of this.

- Is your BIL ok with a person who traveled log distance during a pandemic staying with him?

My friend got COVID in early march by being in the same hotel in boston where the conference which spread the disease to employees of biogen was ongoing. She had to lobby hard to get hydrochlorquine because they do not offer it automatically to confirmed cases and she had excellent health insurance. She took weeks to recover and she has always been in top physical shape. 

This is a pandemic situation, so, I suggest that you work out all the what/ifs even if things are expected to go smoothly. Sorry that your family is suffering in this situation.

 

Airplanes actually have very good air filtration and circulation systems. It doesn't carry as much risk as being in a closed room with no filter or air circulation. This is a good article about the subject.

The main concern would be being seated near someone who was a carrier, but it's much easier to be seated outside of close proximity to other people. Another concern would be to touching of shared surfaces, but that can be mitigated by minimal touching and using wipes/hand sanitizer. 

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I'm so sorry for your loss. 

If he decides not to fly, my other thought would be to borrow or rent a small camper. Park at Walmart parking lots along the way, and then he would have a space while he's there. It would also allow him to avoid hotel rooms where you really have no knowledge about the health status of the last occupants or employees.

We have a small Yeti cooler that truly keeps thing really cold with little ice that would be good for a long car trip. I's also bring a thermos or travel cup that can keep liquids warm for some hours. That way a lunch stop can cover a dinner stop too. 

I would pack a tub for the front seat with gloves, mask, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer or alcohol wipes, extra trash bags, etc. 

 

 

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I had a relative stranded (Texas to FL) when he got symptoms of probable COVID (later diagonstically confirmed) before returning home and wasn't permitted to either fly or rent a vehicle.  If the time frame can be extended and he can shelter there if needed, that may be ok. 

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I would strongly attempt to talk him out of the trip Jenny.

Few spaces are more risky that being trapped in an airplane cabin in my impression.

Wanting to be an emotional support for one's brother is understandable. It would be the same for my brother and I. We are very close. I get it.

But there are ways to talk and provide emotional support by long distance. Facetime.

Taking this trip is profoundly unwise. Your family has had enough loss without risking further illness (or even worse).

I'm sorry for your loss. Really give this one some thought.

Bill

 

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28 minutes ago, Pippen said:

If he decides not to fly, my other thought would be to borrow or rent a small camper. Park at Walmart parking lots along the way, and then he would have a space while he's there. It would also allow him to avoid hotel rooms where you really have no knowledge about the health status of the last occupants or employees.

We have a small Yeti cooler that truly keeps thing really cold with little ice that would be good for a long car trip. I's also bring a thermos or travel cup that can keep liquids warm for some hours. That way a lunch stop can cover a dinner stop too.  

I love the idea of a small camper, particularly if he needs a place to stay when there and if he doesn't have super typical sleep patterns - when I'm on a long drive, it's often way easier for me to sleep for a few hours in the afternoon than it is to fall asleep at a reasonable hour in a hotel. I would also really like being able to bring all of my food with me. 

If he can't borrow a camper, I'd consider renting a van. Many minivans are big enough to plunk down an air mattress in the back (with seats down). 

That won't matter if he flies, of course, as long as he has a place to stay while there. 

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6 minutes ago, Spy Car said:

I would strongly attempt to talk him out of the trip Jenny.

Few spaces are more risky that being trapped in an airplane cabin in my impression.

Wanting to be an emotional support for one's brother is understandable. It would be the same for my brother and I. We are very close. I get it.

But there are ways to talk and provide emotional support by long distance. Facetime.

Taking this trip is profoundly unwise. Your family has had enough loss without risking further illness (or even worse).

I'm sorry for your loss. Really give this one some thought.

Bill

 

What is that based on? Just feeling or actual facts?

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10 minutes ago, meena said:

What is that based on? Just feeling or actual facts?

I wasn't  the person who said it, but I feel the same: the airplane is a space where you have absolutely no agency and no way of escaping the situation. You are completely at the mercy of others and cannot extricate yourself if you feel unsafe. You do not control what people you share the space with and how they behave, and you can.not.leave. There is no other comparable situation short of a prison cell. 

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I had to fly in the middle of March for an unavoidable situation. It’s true, there were many ways to distance in the airport and even on the plane. However, the one thing I noticed that was impossible was dealing with the flight attendants. They have to come down the aisle, and they are interacting with lots of people they cannot socially distance from. It’s very much a weak link in the distancing chain.

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15 minutes ago, meena said:

What is that based on? Just feeling or actual facts?

I have flown for more than 21 hours plus hours each way for almost 20 years averaging 1.5 years. Travelled a lot internationally. You cannot get me to step on a plane even for one hour now. I am not going to bet my family or my health when an extremely contagious disease is circulating with no known cure or a vaccine. It is based on doing absolute what I can in these unprecedented times to protect ourselves. 
 

Much of what many of us do is not logic or fact based, just common sense or more a desperate instinct to protect ourselves and our family. So that is what this not flying now recommendation comes now and I say this as someone who made decisions not to do so with older family abroad. 

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2 hours ago, meena said:

Airplanes actually have very good air filtration and circulation systems. It doesn't carry as much risk as being in a closed room with no filter or air circulation. This is a good article about the subject.

The main concern would be being seated near someone who was a carrier, but it's much easier to be seated outside of close proximity to other people. Another concern would be to touching of shared surfaces, but that can be mitigated by minimal touching and using wipes/hand sanitizer. 

 

The email the CEO of SPIRIT AIRLINES sent to their customers had some very interesting information about how they clean the aircraft and the steps they are taking to make them cleaner. One thing about the air quality he included was, "Our onboard air is cleaned throughout each flight, with state of the art HEPA filters that capture 99,97 % of particles".  Would the HEPA filters capture the Covid-19 if it is in the cabin?

Being seated near to some with Covid-19 is certainly a risk and they are trying to lower the risk by not having people in the Middle seats in the Coach cabin. Seat belt fasteners, tray tables, etc., are also items of concern. I believe the Colombian government will make one of the requirements for International flights to be that there are no passengers in Middle Seats, before they permit International flights to resume here. They extended the ban, 2 days ago, and they are working on the regulations that will be imposed on International passengers arriving here or departing from here. Especially concerning are arriving passengers.

NOTE: One should never drink water or anything made with water on an airplane, unless it comes out of a can or a bottle. Best to buy your own food and beverages in the airports after going through Security, before you go to your Departure Gate.

 

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I'd be very concerned about using public restrooms. I was just reading yesterday how flushing a toilet aerosolizes Covid germs, which forms a cloud that lingers in the air for thirty minutes. 

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If he is determined to go, he (or you) needs to plan whole trip ahead, like decide where he will stop for gas, where he will spend night, and be sure every bit is open before leaving.  

People I know who recently did a much shorter cross state lines trip to get home from someplace they had been found many places unexpectedly closed.  EG Don’t let gasoline go below a half to quarter tank, just in case.  Don’t expect motels to be open as usual. Take along cleaning products for motel room, and possibly personal bedding—whatever would make sense if the cleaning staff of motel is infected with CV19.  Take all food needed for journey plus some extra in case of delays. 

And make sure that all roads and borders are open.

Even then things can change suddenly and he could end up stranded somewhere or without a place to stay or having to make long detours around a shut state.  

He is probably putting both himself and his brother in potential danger. And you upon arrival back home.  There is really no way to be sure of adequate disinfection in either hotel rooms, or airports, airplanes and rental cars.  But the more he is able to isolate along the route and do his own cleaning, the better.  

He should certainly at least have several masks and gloves and eye protection. And take basically everything he would need if stuck along the way. 

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2 hours ago, Jenny in Florida said:

So, here's the thing: My husband is one of the most prudent, cautious people I have ever known. (Diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder just a couple of years ago, which explained A LOT.) He has been annoyingly adamant about having all of us take every possible precaution throughout this situation, including being very angry with me for a couple of days because I insisted on going to work at the office when staying home was still optional. His family has had more than its share of death and disaster, and this brother is now the only member of his nuclear family who is still around. If he looked at all of the relevant factors and determined that it was appropriate for him to make this trip, I would support his choice, exactly as I expected him to respect my decision to drive downtown to my office to work for the additional few days I did. 

That would be why I did not post asking whether folks here thought it was a good idea for him to go. That is a decision I trust him to make for himself.

 

However, even the most prudent of people sometimes make errors, especially during high emotion times. 

He may better be able to keep himself and his brother as allies to each other by not going.  Going puts both brothers (and others too presumably) at increased risk compared to giving long distance support and help as able. 

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I would assume that gas stations and grocery/discount stores will be the only options for food and bathroom stops, and look along the route on Google Maps to find one every two hours. I would call hotels to talk about their status, as some may have been deemed non-essential. I'd evaluate the car's reliability.

If he flies, he should suppose sit-down restaurant options in airports will be closed, and he should wear a mask when not eating/drinking.

I would think it will be possible that state police in one of the states he's passing through will be stopping people on interstates by the time he returns, and might turn him away. Have back-up ideas.

I would wonder about your out of network health care costs, if applicable.

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53 minutes ago, Lanny said:

 

The email the CEO of SPIRIT AIRLINES sent to their customers had some very interesting information about how they clean the aircraft and the steps they are taking to make them cleaner. One thing about the air quality he included was, "Our onboard air is cleaned throughout each flight, with state of the art HEPA filters that capture 99,97 % of particles".  Would the HEPA filters capture the Covid-19 if it is in the cabin?

Being seated near to some with Covid-19 is certainly a risk and they are trying to lower the risk by not having people in the Middle seats in the Coach cabin. Seat belt fasteners, tray tables, etc., are also items of concern. I believe the Colombian government will make one of the requirements for International flights to be that there are no passengers in Middle Seats, before they permit International flights to resume here. They extended the ban, 2 days ago, and they are working on the regulations that will be imposed on International passengers arriving here or departing from here. Especially concerning are arriving passengers.

NOTE: One should never drink water or anything made with water on an airplane, unless it comes out of a can or a bottle. Best to buy your own food and beverages in the airports after going through Security, before you go to your Departure Gate.

 

This info from IATA (International Air Transport Association) states that "virtually all viruses and bacteria are removed; even the most difficult particles in the range of 0.1 to 0.3 micron are filtered out with an efficiency level of of 99.995%" by the HEPA filters used in most commercial planes. Covid is 0.125 micron particle size. The same document equates the filters with those found in hospital operating theatres. This article also discusses the efficacy of HEPA filters (general, not specific to aircraft filtration).

Most US carriers are instituting no middle seats, but the flight loads are so low right now that it isn't really relevant. There is room for everyone to have their own row or even group of rows. Shorter flights have discontinued all food/beverage service. Longer flights (>250 miles) are doing limited food/beverage, but it's all self-contained. Closed drinks, packaged self-contained food. It's just like what you would buy at the airport kiosk so no need to make an extra stop there. Right now, though, I wouldn't eat on a plane unless I absolutely had to, not because of the food but because the nature of eating is too touchy feely. I would drink bottled water.

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2 minutes ago, meena said:

This info from IATA (International Air Transport Association) states that "virtually all viruses and bacteria are removed; even the most difficult particles in the range of 0.1 to 0.3 micron are filtered out with an efficiency level of of 99.995%" by the HEPA filters used in most commercial planes. Covid is 0.125 micron particle size. The same document equates the filters with those found in hospital operating theatres. This article also discusses the efficacy of HEPA filters (general, not specific to aircraft filtration).

Most US carriers are instituting no middle seats, but the flight loads are so low right now that it isn't really relevant. There is room for everyone to have their own row or even group of rows. Shorter flights have discontinued all food/beverage service. Longer flights (>250 miles) are doing limited food/beverage, but it's all self-contained. Closed drinks, packaged self-contained food. It's just like what you would buy at the airport kiosk so no need to make an extra stop there. Right now, though, I wouldn't eat on a plane unless I absolutely had to, not because of the food but because the nature of eating is too touchy feely. I would drink bottled water.

 

I think you should definitely fly now. I hear tickets are dirt cheap. You can help the airlines, economy, and enjoy a lovely vacation.

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A friend's mother died of Covid yesterday.  Even though she's local, she couldn't be there for the death and they can't have a funeral now.  Their plan is to cremate and hold the memorial once the pandemic is over.  Traveling for a funeral now will only result in more funerals.  I'd sit tight until it's over.  I can't imagine what he could do on-site that would be worth the risk to all concerned.

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1 hour ago, regentrude said:

I wasn't  the person who said it, but I feel the same: the airplane is a space where you have absolutely no agency and no way of escaping the situation. You are completely at the mercy of others and cannot extricate yourself if you feel unsafe. You do not control what people you share the space with and how they behave, and you can.not.leave. There is no other comparable situation short of a prison cell. 

That is a concern for someone with anxiety. However, that doesn't make it "risky" for what I thought we were mostly discussing, which was viral transmission. For that, I think I'd rather be on an airplane with a HEPA filter recirculating air than in a grocery store where there is no/little filtration.

1 hour ago, Dreamergal said:

I have flown for more than 21 hours plus hours each way for almost 20 years averaging 1.5 years. Travelled a lot internationally. You cannot get me to step on a plane even for one hour now. I am not going to bet my family or my health when an extremely contagious disease is circulating with no known cure or a vaccine. It is based on doing absolute what I can in these unprecedented times to protect ourselves. 
 

Much of what many of us do is not logic or fact based, just common sense or more a desperate instinct to protect ourselves and our family. So that is what this not flying now recommendation comes now and I say this as someone who made decisions not to do so with older family abroad. 

That is you deciding not to fly. There's nothing wrong with that. But to say that there is no riskier place than in an airplane cabin doesn't stand up to facts. It's the same when people refuse to fly for other reasons. That is their choice. But it's not right to tell everyone there is nothing riskier than flying, when statistically it's safer than many activities people regularly engage in. It's no secret that driving/riding in a car is much more dangerous than flying. It's just that we have the notion that our control over driving keeps us safer. Common sense says don't fly for leisure right now. That isn't what this thread is about.

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