Highway Patrol reminds drivers to stay safe during holiday travel


COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is reminding drivers to be safe as they hit the roads for a busy day of holiday travel, during the last day of the Highway Patrol’s 2021 Thanksgiving Holiday Counting Period.

The counting period for the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday weekend started at 6 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and runs through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

So far during this holiday counting period, MSHP’s website reports 58 crashes across the state. During the 2020 holiday counting period, troopers reported a final tally of 321 crashes resulting in 72 injuries and 10 deaths.

Troopers additionally made 100 DWI arrests during last years counting period with an additional 78 drug arrests.

This year, troopers said drivers should, “make sure their vehicles are in good condition and that they are well rested before they start driving.” “Too many people die in traffic crashes each year in Missouri,” MSHP said in a press release. “The choices you make when you’re behind the wheel matter.”

Colonel Eric T. Olson, Superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol also reminded drivers to expect increased traffic during the holiday season and to be prepared for changes to drivers normal routes.



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Officials offer tips for a safe Thanksgiving | Connecticut News


(WFSB) – Millions of drivers will be hitting the road tomorrow morning.

Officials are working to help drivers stay safe this weekend, as car thefts are on the rise in the state.

The next two days are huge for traveling and shopping, and with car thefts on the rise police are sending out tips to keep you safe.

Like when you’re parked in a parking lot, always making sure you have your keys out and ready to go and if you’re shopping at night, they say try to park under a light.

Another big tip this weekend is to have patience on the road because they will be crowded.

The 2020 holidays looked a little different for everyone, and now that we’re getting back to normal, that means holiday traffic is back.

AAA is predicting 48 million people will hit the roads this Thanksgiving. That’s up 13% from last year.

They estimate 2 million drivers in New England alone.

Jordan Udi of Hartford said, “normally we’d go up to Massachusetts, but we decided we don’t want to travel this year.”

Luckily for Udi, his family will be coming to him.

“My brother and his wife are going to be traveling to us and my grandmothers going to be coming from Massachusetts,” said Udi.

The same goes for the Wade family in Hartford.

Alversia Wade said, “my dad lives near New Jersey and my brothers coming up Springfield. So, we’re all just going to be at my house just having fun, cooking up a feast.”

While some will stay home prepared their Thanksgiving meals, others will be heading to the bars tonight.

“I expect the bars to be full,” said Jordan.

Sometimes called Blackout Wednesday or Drinksgiving, bars tend to fill up the night before Thanksgiving with people home for the holiday.

“We’re going to be preparing doing all the prep but there is a bar right there so maybe we’ll sneak out. But that’s only if we get all the cakes baked,” said Wade.

In an effort to stop drinking and driving. The Connecticut Department of Transportation is encouraging those who drink this holiday season to use a ride service.

They created a $10 discount code for Uber, it’s SAVETHENIGHTCT.

It’s available until January 14th.

If you plan to do any holiday shopping this weekend, police are asking people to stay vigilant.

East Hartford Police sent out these tips:

  • never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or children inside.
  • do not leave valuables on the seat.
  • park as close as you can to your destination.

East Hartford Police also say if you feel uncomfortable or you see anyone looking suspicious, ask mall or store security to escort you to your car.





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Is travel safe during the pandemic this holiday season? – News-Herald


By DEE-ANN DURBIN
AP Business Writer

Is travel safe during the pandemic this holiday season?

It depends. It can be safe if you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but officials say people who haven’t gotten the shots should delay travel.
Regardless of vaccination status, all travelers should keep taking precautions like avoiding indoor, unmasked crowds, says Dr. Keith Armitage, an infectious disease expert at Case Western Reserve University.

“The delta variant has really brought us back to an earlier time in the pandemic,” he says.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says not to travel if you’re sick, or if you tested positive for COVID-19 and your isolation period isn’t over yet — even if you’re fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated people who decide to travel should get a COVID-19 test one to three days before travel and three to five days after returning.

All travelers must still wear masks on trains, planes and other indoor public transportation areas, the agency says.
Airlines say plane cabins are low risk since they have good air circulation and filtration. However, there is no requirement for vaccination or testing before domestic flights, and passengers can remove their face masks while eating or drinking.

Hotels aren’t risky for the vaccinated as long as they wear masks around strangers, Armitage says. More fraught are family gatherings with unvaccinated individuals, particularly for those who are older or have health problems.

Health experts suggest looking at the case levels and masking rules in the place you are visiting before you travel.

The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org.

 



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Is travel safe during the pandemic this holiday season?


Is travel safe during the pandemic this holiday season?

It depends. It can be safe if you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but officials say people who haven’t gotten the shots should delay travel.

Regardless of vaccination status, all travelers should keep taking precautions like avoiding indoor, unmasked crowds, says Dr. Keith Armitage, an infectious disease expert at Case Western Reserve University.

“The delta variant has really brought us back to an earlier time in the pandemic,” he says.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says not to travel if you’re sick, or if you tested positive for COVID-19 and your isolation period isn’t over yet — even if you’re fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated people who decide to travel should get a COVID-19 test one to three days before travel and three to five days after returning.

All travelers must still wear masks on trains, planes and other indoor public transportation areas, the agency says.

Airlines say plane cabins are low risk since they have good air circulation and filtration. However, there is no requirement for vaccination or testing before domestic flights, and passengers can remove their face masks while eating or drinking.

Hotels aren’t risky for the vaccinated as long as they wear masks around strangers, Armitage says. More fraught are family gatherings with unvaccinated individuals, particularly for those who are older or have health problems.

Health experts suggest looking at the case levels and masking rules in the place you are visiting before you travel.

______

The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org. Read more here:

Why can’t some COVID-19 vaccinated people travel to the US?

Can at-home COVID-19 tests make holiday gatherings safer?

Can I get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time?

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Sheldon Police Department urges safe travel | News


SHELDON—The Sheldon Police Department will be participating in an extra traffic enforcement project from Nov. 15-28, which coincides with the Thanksgiving holiday. It is part of a statewide project.

Thanksgiving weekend, millions of Americans will hit the roads, eager to spend time with family and friends. It is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and unfortunately, that may mean more crashes. It is important to remember the ABC’s of safe driving.

ALWAYS means every time. Every driver should, without fail, buckle up, driver sober and follow all the rules of the road — every trip, every time. Using your safety belt and driving sober are two simple tasks drivers can do to save time, lives and money.

BE means to take place. Safe driving should take place as our first and only priority when behind the wheel. Driving is a full-time job which requires every driver’s complete attention. Driving distracted can lead to deadly consequences.

CAREFUL means watchful. Drivers should consistently be watchful of unsafe drivers and their surroundings. Being a defensive driver will allow you to react to avoid crashes, dangerous situations and can save you money and more importantly, your life.

Facts to always be careful:

  • When you wear your seatbelt as a front-seat occupant of a passenger car, your risk of fatal injury goes down by 45 percent. Seatbelts save lives.
  • Distracted driving is one of the fastest-growing safety issues on the roads today. In 2020 in Iowa, there were 945 crashes and four deaths due to drivers distracted by the use of the phone or other electronic device. Be attentive and put the phone down.
  • In 2020 in Iowa, there were 669 crashes and 30 deaths in which exceeding the speed limit was the cause. Speed is something we can all control. Obey the speed limit to save lives.
  • Driving impaired is costly and can be deadly. There were 51 deaths and 1,383 crashes in Iowa in 2020 due to alcohol-impaired driving. Rideshare, taking the keys or even better, planning ahead can prevent impaired driving and still allow everyone to have a good time.

In Iowa between Nov. 15, 2020-Nov. 28, 2020, 13 people lost their lives on Iowa’s roadways and during the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday, three people were killed on Iowa’s roadways. Even one life lost is too man.! During this campaign which will take place from November 15-28, law enforcement across Iowa will be enforcing the traffic laws and reminding drivers that safe driving is as simple as ABC — ALWAYS BE CAREFUL.





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How safe is it to travel on public transport amid COVID-19?


Since late 2019, the world has been dealing with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and has been facing an overwhelming challenge of controlling the spread of the disease. In most countries in which there have been increased cases of COVID-19, local governments have implemented restrictions, such as lockdowns and social distancing, to slow the spread of the disease. Research has shown that such restrictions are imperative in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Study: Safe traveling in public transport amid COVID-19. Image Credit: PCH.Vector/ ShutterstockStudy: Safe traveling in public transport amid COVID-19. Image Credit: PCH.Vector/ Shutterstock

In South Korea, public transportation systems are mainly made up of buses and urban rails. However, since the pandemic began, the demand for public transport has drastically dropped. To offer the safest possible environment on public transport, the government of South Korea has issued safety guidelines, including maintaining a safe distance from others, wearing face masks, traveling at off-peak times, and avoiding crowded spaces.

However, the use of public transport is still considered high risk due to the high transmissibility associated with COVID 19, and large numbers of people are asymptomatic. Thus, high levels of anxiety regarding public transport are justified, especially in those considered vulnerable. Several studies have shown that public transport is a significant source of transmission regarding the pandemic.

The study

Close contact is typically considered the main route of transmission with COVID-19, which highlights the significance of asymptomatic individuals. Thus, it is vital to examine patterns of travel and the activities of infected individuals to protect the population better and control the spread of COVID-19.

In public transportation research, previous studies have utilized various frameworks or networks, such as Euclidean, Neural Network, and Reverse Logistics Network, to simulate the trip characteristics and travel patterns of passengers in public transportation. Another previous study used smart card data to examine the public transportation passenger encounter pattern with an Encounter Network.

In this study published in Science Advances, the authors extended this research by proposing a time-varying weighted Public Transportation Encounter Network that modeled the COVID-19 infectious process observed on public transport. The public transport trips analyzed in this study showed a repeated mobility pattern of regularity, which allowed for reproducible patterns. Therefore, the familiar stranger group (frequent encounters of public transportation users) was analyzed. The simulation performed displayed how public transportation users are frequently exposed to the virus on their trips.

Mask wearing is a recommended safety procedure in South Korea to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, it is mandatory in public places such as public transport. The authors tested the efficacy of the most common masks worn in South Korea by determining the number of concentrations and reduction rate before and after wearing the mask. The authors prepared a 5% TiO2 Gamble solution to mimic pulmonary fluids and viral particles and converted it to cough aerosols using a mist generator. The results from this procedure demonstrated that mask-wearing is as effective as maintaining two meters physical distance.

Large-scale events and mass gatherings can increase the spread of COVID-19 through travelers who attend such events and carry the virus to new areas. Also, in the case of large events, it can mean increased numbers and duration on public transport, which increases the number of public encounters, thus increasing the chance of COVID-19 transmission. The public encounter network demonstrated that variation in the demand for public transport based on time zone could significantly affect congestion levels. Therefore, the variation in congestion levels generated different encounter patterns in the public transportation network. Moreover, the authors of this study demonstrate that the duration of contact with infected citizens was closely related to congestion on public transport.

Implications

Close contact is typically the primary route of COVID-19 transmission, highlighting the danger associated with asymptomatic cases. A better understanding of patterns of travel may help in mitigating COVID-19 spread on public transport. The wearing of masks, while still a controversial topic, is mandatory on public transport in South Korea. The results from this study show that wearing a face mask may be as effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 as keeping a two-meter physical distance. Mass gatherings generally result in increased numbers on public transport, so safety precautions such as masks are vital in preventing an increase in COVID-19 cases.



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Advice: Is it safe to travel to a music festival?


Are music festivals too risky? Some friends and I have plans to attend a music festival that requires proof of vaccination or a negative test. Everyone in our group is fully vaccinated, and we intend to avoid indoor spaces completely. We plan to do our best to stay out of the most crowded parts, i.e. mosh pits, and wear N95 masks whenever social distancing is not possible. Given our approach, how much risk are we taking on? And what are some of the risk factors and potential ethical questions we should consider? — Anonymous



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Is it safe for Americans to vacation to Cancun? What travelers should know


In the wake of the shocking Cancun shooting, some Americans may be wondering if it’s safe to visit the area.

The State Department has issued a Level 3 travel advisory for Mexico, which means people should “reconsider travel” to the country. The advisory was first put in place in July because of COVID-19, according to the department website.

The current advisory includes warnings about an increased risk of crime, including kidnappings, in parts of Mexico, including resort areas. 

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Specifically, the State Department encourages travelers to “exercise increased caution,” which is a Level 2 advisory, when visiting the Mexican state of Quintana Roo – where Cancun is located – due to a rise in crime. 

Mexico was marked with a Level 3 Travel Advisory by the US Department of State because of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year. (iStock)

Mexico was marked with a Level 3 Travel Advisory by the US Department of State because of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year. (iStock)

On Thursday, two suspected drug dealers were killed in a shooting that broke out in the beach area of Hotel Ziva Riviera Cancun in Puerto Morelos, Fox News previously reported.

The U.S. embassy to Mexico released a statement after the shooting, saying that Mexican authorities were responding to the situation. 

AMERICANS AT CANCUN LGBT+ EVENT IN HIDING AFTER MEN WITH LONG GUNS REPORTEDLY STORM BEACH

“We advise U.S. citizens in the area to contact concerned family and/or friends to let them know they are safe,” the embassy said. “Affected U.S. citizens should follow the instructions of local authorities and call 911 if they have an emergency situation.”

The embassy also listed actions that Americans can take while visiting the area, including monitoring local news, following the directions of local officials and avoiding crowds. 

The embassy also said American tourists should “be aware of your surroundings” and “review your personal security plans.”

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also issued a warning to travelers about visiting Mexico because of the pandemic. 

The Department of State also includes warnings about an increased risk of crime and kidnappings in Mexico. (iStock)

The Department of State also includes warnings about an increased risk of crime and kidnappings in Mexico. (iStock)

According to the CDC website, Mexico has a high level of COVID-19 cases. The agency recommends that people make sure they are fully vaccinated before traveling to the country.

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According to data from Statista, 21.73 million Americans traveled to Mexico in 2020 amid the pandemic, compared to 39.94 million in 2019. 

Cancun saw a drop in visits from international travelers last year. In 2020, the city reported 2.3 million tourists, down from 6 million in 2019. 

U.S. News and World Report found that the best times to visit Cancun are between December and April to avoid autumn storms and “sweltering” summers.

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According to crowd-sourced database Numbeo, Cancun has experienced a significant increase in crime over the last three years. The city is considered safe for walking alone during the day with risks becoming “moderate” at night.

Meanwhile, about 2 hours and 40 minutes away, is another popular tourist destination in Mexico: Cozumel. According to Numbeo, Cozumel has a low level of crime, though it has also seen crime increasing at a high rate over the last three years.

However, the Department of State advises visitors to Mexico’s Quintana Roo state -- where Cancun is located -- to "exercise increased caution," which is a Level 2 advisory. (iStock)

However, the Department of State advises visitors to Mexico’s Quintana Roo state — where Cancun is located — to “exercise increased caution,” which is a Level 2 advisory. (iStock)

In summary, the State Department’s says “violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common” in Mexico currently.

The two Mexican states where visitors can “exercise normal precautions” are Campeche and Yucatan, the department said.





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Tips for Staying Safe From COVID-19 During the Holidays


You might be going ho-ho-home for the holidays. But before you do that, health experts have some safety guidelines that you’ll want to check twice.

More than 57% of the US population is fully vaxxed against COVID-19. And tens of millions of Americans are eligible for a booster shot. But, reminder: we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. All of which could make holiday planning complicated.

How to Stay Safe While Celebrating the Holidays

The CDC’s No. 1 rec: get vaxxed if you haven’t already. The agency says it’s “the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk,” especially because different generations get together for the holidays. Here’s what else you can do to stay safe when celebrating with…

Family and friends…Masks are still the best accessory for everyone two years and older. Especially for those who are unvaxxed. And even those with a vax card should consider a mask if celebrating in an area with high transmission rates. Outdoor and well-ventilated spaces are best for big meet-ups. If you’re sick, it’s best to stay home and Zoom into the festivities. And if you might have been exposed to the virus, health experts recommend getting tested. If you’re one of multiple households gathering under one roof, try avoiding crowded spaces during your travel journey and consider taking a test before your trip.

Psst…If you’re planning to host or attend a celebration, you might want to ask friends and family about their vax status. We’ve got tips on how to do that here

Those at higher risk of COVID-19…Including those who are 65+. Or who have underlying medical conditions (weakened immune system, heart conditions, diabetes). Fully vaxxed people with such conditions may still be vulnerable to the virus. So, it’s important to take basic preventative measures. Btw, people who fall under this group are eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot. We’ve got more on that here.

Young children…Kiddos under 12 don’t have access to a vaccine (yet). The CDC recs that unvaxxed family members – including children ages two and older – wear a mask in indoor public spaces. If younger than two, it’s best to limit visits with people who aren’t vaccinated. And keep children at a safe distance from others in public. 

The CDC’s also recommending people six months and older get a flu shot. And say curbside or drive-thru vax clinics might be the best way to go. Especially in communities with high transmission of COVID-19. Oh and health experts have given people the green light to get vaxxed against COVID-19 and the flu at the same time

What about travel?

If you’re vaccinated, there are steps you should still take to stay safe. Wear a mask on public transportation (it’s a requirement). And monitor yourself for any COVID-19 symptoms after your trip. The CDC suggests that those traveling with unvaxxed kids for the holidays take short road trips. And if you have to fly, consider picking a flight that doesn’t require layovers. If you’re unvaxxed, get tested before and after your trip to ensure you’re good to go. And, when in doubt, follow the 2020 motto: mask up, social distance, and wash your hands. 

For those saying ‘see U(SA) later,’ here are some tips for staying safe…

  • Review the State Dept’s travel advisories. Officials are warning against travel to several countries due to COVID-19. Check the list out here

  • Fully vaxxed people who’ve been exposed to the virus, don’t have to quarantine and can travel. That is unless they have COVID-19 symptoms. Then, health officials say to ‘isolate stat.’ Do not travel. (Remember: It may help to check in on your destination’s travel rules.) And call your doctor. Stay home for 14 days after exposure. Travel tip: If you need to get to a doctor, opt for an ambulance or private vehicle. No public transportation, if you can.

  • The testing guidelines for Americans returning to the US vary. Those who are unvaxxed will have to provide a negative test within one day of traveling to airlines. And those who got their shot(s) also have to get tested within three days. Children under two can skip this requirement.

If you have family or friends visiting from abroad, heads up: Starting Nov 8, the US will welcome fully vaccinated travelers from 33 countries. Here’s what they should know:

  • Vaccines that are authorized by the FDA or World Health Organization are fair game. 

  • There are a few exemptions from the vax requirement, including those under 18.

  • All international travelers – not including children under two – still have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test to airlines before boarding. (Note: some airlines may already have a process set up for uploading this info, check with your airline). 

theSkimm

The holiday season is a time to be merry with your loved ones. But during a pandemic, extra precautions and planning are necessary. After all, health and good company can make the best gifts. 

Skimm’d by Maria del Carmen Corpus, Maria Martinolich, and Kamini Ramdeen



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