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Posted by Victor Crew on

Cook Islands Readying for First Covid-19 Cases

The small, South Pacific nation Cook Islands who has not yet had an serious issues with Covid-19 is preparing for its first possible infections now that a infected traveler, who was likely contagious while on the islands, visited their Prime Minister Mark Brown recently.

The traveler was from New Zealand. The traveler spent just over a week in the community and tested positive for the Omicron variant after returning to his home country. This according to a video by PM Brown posted on the governments Facebook page.

Brown posited that the visitor was likely contagious while visiting Cook Islands and that he believed the virus was likely in the community. He also stated it was possible that there was “silent transmission” in the Cook Islands due to their high vaccination rate, so the infection is so mild people don’t know they have it.

Only .4% of the nation’s 17,000 citizens are not double vaccinated (for people over 12) and only 30% have not received a booster.

Cook Islands had shut it shelf off from the world early in 2020 when the pandemic hit and just resumed quarantine-free travel with New Zealand a month ago.

The island country reported a single case of Covid this past December when someone arrived on a repatriation flight, however they were not exposed to the community at large.

Brown stated that he thought their high vaccination rate has afforded the country a strong shield against the pandemic.

Posted by Victor Crew on

Airbus to Test Hydrogen Engine Plane

Airbus has recently come that much closer to creating the world’s first zero-emission aircraft. The French airplane manufacturer announced that it is ready to test hydrogen fuel technology in a modified A380 jetliner. The A380 was discontinued last year.

Airbus partnered with CFM international on this very important hydrogen demonstration program.

The A380 will be fitted with fuel tanks rated to handle liquid hydrogen tanks in the trial of propulsion technology for future hydrogen fueled aircraft.

2.8% of global CO2 emissions is generated by aviation. And aviation accounted for 95 billion gallons of fuel consumption in 2019.

The industry as a whole has promised to reduce their emissions to half of what the level was in 2005 by 2050. Some carriers are switching over to sustainable aviation fuel or SAF to help reduce the carbon footprint of flying. British Airway’s parent company IAG has stated it will power 10% of its flights with SAF by 2030. United Airlines made its first successful flight via 100% sustainable fuel last year.

Airbus is putting all its eggs in the hydrogen basket, however. But, hydrogen fuel could potentially reduce aviation emissions by 50%.

 

 

 

Posted by Victor Crew on

National Parks See Explosion in Visitation

In August Yellowstone National park set a record of above 920,000 visitors for the month. In September they set another monthly number of recreational visits of 882,078 visitors. Most notably they set a record for annual recreational visits in 2021 at 4,472,982 recreational visits. This is a 32% increase over the same period in 2020. With a number like this it is as if the population of an entire state visited Yellowstone.

Even before the pandemic the park has never hit 4 million recreational visits this early in the year.

Officials stated they’d never seen such an increase in visitation in such a short period and assured the public that they will be taking steps, both long and short term, to ensure visitors and can enjoy the park while preserving the ecosystem.

Anyone involved in the National Park system whether by profession or recreation knows this visitation increase isn’t limited to just Yellowstone. Arches National Park in Utah had to close its gates to visitors numerous times during the summer because the facilities couldn’t handle more visitors.

Even now, a sign warns that parking lots at trailheads fill early, even before 9am. Their website still warns visitors that periods of non-admittance can last from 3-5 hours.

 

 

 

Posted by Victor Crew on

Spring Vacation Travel Tips

As the weather gets nicer or if you are considering traveling immediately for Spring or the Easter holiday here are some items you may want to take into consideration that come directly from the CDC:

“Travel increases your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. Delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated.

If you must travel, take steps to protect yourself and others:

  • If you are eligible, get fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • Before you travel, get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when in public.
  • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who did not travel with you.
  • Get tested 3-5 days after your trip and stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if your test is negative. If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.

Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements after travel.”

The CDC has more extensive suggestions on their website. You might also consider other items like:

Double check what is open at your destination–you don’t want to end up like the Griswolds, getting all the way to WallyWorld just to find out they are closed. Additionally, you may want to call or check the website of any major destinations to make sure you are able to comply with any new rules they may have. Also, some destinations may only be partially open; meaning that they may have reduced capacity and limited or restricted activities.

What is your backup plan if someone does get sick? Covid-19 aside, it isn’t a bad idea to know what you would do if someone got ill while you are away. You may want to have a quick conversation with your health insurance provider about out of state care.

Safe Travels!

 

Posted by Victor Crew on

Holiday Travel Tips for the Pandemic

This year holiday season travel is going to be very different. Some will stay home instead of visiting far flung relatives. But for those choosing to travel here are some tips.

Expect the unexpected. While this is probably good advice for travel in general it is more important than ever to be ready for changes in your plans. Pandemic updates come daily. Expect shifting quarantine rules. Expect canceled or delayed flights.

Choose an airline who have flexible booking policies. Many airlines have adjusted their policies to allow no-fee ticket changes, but double check! Free changes could be limited in number. Certain types of tickets may not have special privileges. You may also owe the difference if you change to a more expensive flight. Again, check before booking!

Also, “free change” doesn’t mean you’ll get a refund if you cancel. Some airlines are offering vouchers for canceled flights but many are not going to simply hand you back your cash.

Don’t choose a high-risk itinerary. While normal holiday travel is rife with delayed and canceled flights, this year could be much worse. Try to leave earlier in the day before delays get a chance to build up. Try to get longer connection times between flights. Choose small airports for connections and if you can those with a lesser chance of crazy weather.

Choose itineraries with longer connection times.

Select smaller (and less crowded) connection airports and, if possible, those with less risk of severe winter weather.

Know the quarantine rules for your destination. If you need to get tested before you leave, make sure to get that done in plenty of time.

Lastly, if you want to fly trouble-free it is highly suggested you follow all safety protocols required by airlines including wearing a mask.