And now we panic

by Jon Sullivan - 2020-03-03 - Travels

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I'm being realistic about the virus danger. But in a pandemic it matters more how the other 7.7 billion people react.

I can easily just wash my hands a lot, keep alcohol wipes and tissues close by, and try not to ever touch my face. Or touch anything really. Easy. But the plan this year was to spend two weeks in Belgium. That may be fucked.

Not because I shouldn't go due to the virus. But fucked because some combination of practical caution and irrational hysteria may just make it impossible. The tour operator could decide that spending two weeks in a bus with 50 drunk people from around the world is a bad life choice. I could get a sniffle either before or during and then end up quarantined for weeks before I can even get on the plane. And with every government and agency in the world saying "avoid travel", will the limited access breweries we were looking forward to even be open?

What if half the tour customers cancel? Will it even happen if it's half full?

So I can be completely realistic about how low the true danger is. But that won't stop Belgium from telling me to piss off when I try to go through customs. Or the US when I try to come back. Or all the touristy stuff being closed.

Of course even if I'm being realistic about the low risk, this is still a dumb time to travel. This virus isn't your grand dad's bird flu. This thing seems almost weaponized with it's ability to live on surfaces for so long, and sometimes show no symptoms. Some people are dying of the virus with no indications about where they even got it. Deciding to be in a plane/train/bus for two weeks right now is at least somewhat objectively dumb.

But I'm too far in to call it off. Let's hope a vaccine shows up soon.

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