Dear 100 Hour Board,
You gave me some fantastic answers when I asked about traveling to Patagonia in Board Question #92876 at the end of this month. Well, now corona virus has broken out and is slowly starting to spread in South America. Normally I would be all "screw it I want to explore the mountains!" but my job has recently announced that anyone who travels to an infected country will have to work from home for two weeks after they get back. While I thankfully would not lose my job, it would be a difficult few weeks (work without another monitor, can't easily communicate with coworkers, etc), and that doesn't take into account the possibility of actually getting sick and possibly being quarantined outside of the US.
But on the other hand - Patagonia.
What would you do in my shoes?
-Soon-to-be international explorer?
I just want to say that even if the likelihood of me catching coronavirus was 100%, I would 47,000% go anyways; Patagonia is that cool.
Is COVID-19 a serious thing for some people? Yes, for some. Does being in the U.S. prevent you from getting coronavirus? No. You're probably aware it's all up in the United States, as well, and at the time I write this there are at least 423 confirmed cases by the CDC, 19 of which were fatal (Notably, as states increasingly handle their own cases, the true number is higher than this, as not all cases are reported to the CDC). As of March 9, Chile has 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19, comparatively.
As you're approaching your trip, note on the CDC's current list of travel advisories. Notably, Chile and Argentina are not listed as places where travel is discouraged at this time, instead, you're given the same recommendations as if you were hanging out in the US of A:
- Avoid contact with sick people
- Clean your hands often by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%–95% alcohol
- Pay attention to your health for 14 days after returning to the US. Stay home and seek medical advice if you get sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing
- Avoid traveling if you are sick
Visit CDC's webpage for additional information about COVID-19
If you're asking for my opinion, I'd say go for it. You're able to travel at this time, you've probably paid for flights, you've made travel arrangements, made the time for this, and while you know what conditions in your life are for travel right now, you don't know where anything will be at in six months. That feels like the riskier option, to me. If the CDC or some other reputable organization recommends you alter your travel plans, then do so. Otherwise I'd just go, have fun and maintain good personal and public hygiene.
P.S. An article you might find relevant is Slate's "Should You Cancel Your Plans? A Coronavirus Travel Guide"
I would put off the trip to Patagonia until things died down and everyone wasn't freaking out about Coronavirus. I don't like working from home, and am highly risk averse (even if your chances of contracting the virus don't raise significantly in Patagonia, being trapped in quarantine in a foreign country sounds like the worst), so it wouldn't be worth it to me.