The holiday season is also the traveling season, so authorities are worried that viral transmissions could skyrocket while everyone is busy heading to their destinations.
In the final stretch of 2022, more than 113 million Americans are expected to travel more than 50 miles to reconnect with their friends and family before the year ends, according to Fox Weather.
The news outlet said there would be a significant increase in the number of people driving and flying this year compared to the previous years since the pandemic started.
However, while many would be busy traveling, they would also be exposing themselves to what experts call the “tripledemic” or the combination of the flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19 this season.
Since holiday travels would be approaching pre-pandemic levels this time around, government and health officials are urging everyone to take precautions when engaging in public transportation.
This week, updated data from government and public health agencies showed an increase in flu, RSV and COVID-19 cases. The number could go higher once the holiday season is in full swing.
In the face of this challenging situation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminded everyone to mask up to stay protected from the different viruses.
“[The CDC] recommends properly wearing a high-quality mask or respirator over the nose and mouth in indoor areas of public transportation (such as airplanes, trains, buses, ferries) and transportation hubs (such as airports, stations and seaports),” the agency said.
According to Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease expert at George Mason University, a mask can block all kinds of germs and not just COVID-19. “[It’s] the best tool we have to prevent the spread of those surging respiratory viruses,” the expert told the New York Times.
Last week, updated data published by the CDC showed that some parts of the U.S. already showed the first signs of flu activity slowing down.
However, the agency pointed out that flu activity has remained high nationwide and could go higher when the holiday gatherings start.
Because of this, health leaders once again encouraged the public to get vaccinated.