Welcome to the ninth episode of the Travel Well with Allan Wright!
In this week’s episode, Allan discusses the different COVID-19 statistics for travel available to the public and which ones to focus on if you are considering going on vacation during the pandemic.
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Can’t watch the video right now? Here’s the video transcript of COVID Statistics for Travel – Episode 9:
My name is Allan Wright. Welcome to the Travel Well with Allan video update.
Today I’d like to talk to you about statistics – what statistics are important for determining where you can safely travel during the pandemic and where can you find those statistics.
We all know the top level statistics that are most often bandied around which are total number of cases and total number of deaths for a country, state, or even a county. Those are useful for figuring out sort of the overall impact of the pandemic on a region but they don’t tell you anything at all about what’s happening currently which is what you want to know as a traveler.
So a better statistic would be current cases or even current deaths but even that is limited because we know that a big state like New York, which has his act together, is going to still have quite a few current cases and current deaths because of its population size and will look worse than a small state that doesn’t have its act together.
So a better statistic than that would be current cases by population two other statistics that are interesting to note are the infection rate is which is that number that hovers around one and shows how many new people are being infected from each person that has COVID-19.
If that number’s above one it sort of shows we’re losing the battle. If it’s below one, we’re winning the battle so that is important for an area.
Another one is the percent positive testing point of that statistic is to tell you how adequate the testing is and that’s critical for knowing whether a local jurisdiction, a government has their act together. If they don’t have adequate testing and it’s revealed by a high percent rate then they probably are not doing a good job controlling things but in the end we like to look at current infection cases by population to determine where it seems to be safer to be traveling.
Next, you have to find that statistic! You can’t find it easily on the CDC website. They have a bunch of data that’s very technical but they focus mostly on those high level statistics that the press uses and aren’t all that useful really. So there are many other stats out there but it’s very hard to get that current cases by population.
One place I have found a good summary of that is called COVIDActNow.org. That’s an independent site.
They take five different statistics and they combine them together to create a four-level risk assessment of countries, states and counties you can drill down and get that data for your individual county or a county that you’re hoping to travel to. Even that site of course has its limitations. It does not have full data for all counties and the data it gets is, of course, dependent on the quality of whatever’s being put out by that local jurisdiction.
However, it’s incumbent on you, potential traveler, to know what’s going on in the locations that you’re interested to travel to and this is a pretty good site that I can recommend.