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Summit Medical Group of Oak Ridge

Summer Travel During a Pandemic

“Super spreader”, “more transmissible”,” dominant variant”, “deadlier,” are all terms that have been linked to the Delta variant of COVID-19. This form of the COVID virus is spreading throughout the world just as people are trying to get out and enjoy long delayed travel and reunions. Unfortunately, increased travel and gatherings means increased risk of exposure to the virus. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Arming yourself with information about your travel destination can help keep a great trip from becoming a huge regret. A great place to start is CDC.gov (The Centers for Disease Control) website. During the pandemic, this is your go-to resource for all things COVID, and the website is updated daily to reflect new knowledge and resources. The CDC website will allow you to see maps of “travel hot spots” (areas with high numbers of travelers) and give you information about current restrictions and mandates in different areas. If possible, avoid heavily traveled areas because they offer the most potential for infection.

There are also many simple things you can do to protect yourself. For example:

1. Good hygiene (including frequent handwashing)
2. Wearing a mask indoors and maintaining social distancing whenever possible
3. Preparing your own food
4. Attending outdoor gatherings with fewer people

And most importantly, get vaccinated!

The mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) appear to be effective at preventing severe disease in most people with the Delta variant. While these vaccines may not keep you from getting the virus, the symptoms are quite a bit more manageable in those who have been vaccinated.

If you have questions or concerns about the vaccine, then it’s important to have a conversation with your primary care provider


Dr. Michael Henderson studied medicine at ETSU and went to UT for his undergraduate work. He has been a physician at Summit Medical Group of Oak Ridge for 15 years. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and traveling with his wife and four children.