A Holiday from Covid?

Read what everyone’s favorite coronavirus did for summer vacation


When you think of summer, you may think of warm days and time off. For some, the summer beckons thoughts of vacation and travel. Traveling boomed as Covid restrictions loosened. The mask mandate on airplanes, after being in place since mid-2020, was dropped on April 18. On June 12, the CDC announced people traveling to the United States from foreign countries no longer needed to show proof of a negative Covid test. With these more relaxed Covid regulations, travelers quickly took advantage of the now simpler process of flying.

Covid was devastating for so many travel and tourism businesses, but with fewer Covid restrictions, more people were jumping at the chance for a vacation. This allowed these businesses to inflate their prices, which made it very expensive for people when it came to booking a plane ticket or finding an affordable hotel this summer. For example, NBC News reports that the average price for an international roundtrip this summer would cost 1,057 dollars. This meant international flying prices were up 22% from last year.

With the travel season in full swing and loosened surveillance on the virus, spikes in Covid have been prevalent worldwide this summer. For instance, Europe, a continent with countless world-famous tourist destinations, suffered a surge of the virus beginning in June. This surge can be partially attributed to tourism as American travel to Europe this summer rose a whopping 600% from last summer. Unlike past spikes, this surge of the virus was of two particular subvariants of Omicron. These are the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, which took off in Portugal and spread to neighboring countries. From June to July, there was approximately a 70% increase in Covid cases in Europe. These variants do not cause particularly severe symptoms but are able to dodge some antibodies from the vaccine. Although general measurements of the virus’ growth can be measured, it is hard to gather exact statistics since recently there has been a decrease in testing.

Other popular tourism regions such as the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada all sit at Level 3 on the CDC’s travel recommendations. This means that if you are not up to date on the Covid vaccines, the CDC recommends you avoid traveling to these places. Luckily, as of right now, the CDC has not declared any locations a Level 4 (places which the CDC does not recommend anyone to travel to regardless of vaccination status). At the moment, all of these destinations, including Europe, have a slowly declining Covid rate.

The United States faced a surge of subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 earlier this summer. As of July, the BA.5 variant was responsible for 77.9% of Covid cases in the country. In addition, there are several other sublineages of Omicron on the horizon. Only time will tell if these sublines will spread, but as of right now, the Covid cases in the United States are very slowly decreasing.

So, what does this mean for our upcoming school year? As of right now, Connecticut is not requiring students to wear masks in school, and neither is GA. There will also be no weekly testing for those who are vaccinated. So you can get excited for a pretty normal school year!