The Addiction And COVID-19 Connection
Hayley Hudson ❘
People with an addiction are being impacted by COVID-19 in many ways, but the community is working on continuing crucial treatment.
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On January 29th, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the outbreak of a mysterious virus spreading in Wuhan, China. At that time, Coronavirus-related pneumonia had officially infected 59 people. To avoid further spreading, experts suggested travel precautions. Four days after the announcement, the United States restricted global air travel and declared COVID-19 a National Emergency.
As of today, more than 147,211,802 people worldwide have contracted the virus. However, the number of new outbreaks is winding down thanks to efficient safety practices like social distancing and the role out of multiple vaccines. In response to the lowered rates of new infections, the U.S. and much of the world are loosening their travel restrictions.
It is well-documented now that rates of substance abuse have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 40% of American adults said they were struggling with mental health or substance use, with 13% starting or increasing their substance use during the pandemic.
These increasing rates have caused many people to seek out necessary treatment at inpatient rehabilitation facilities. Rehabs are essential and have been operating during COVID with increased sanitation practices and social distancing, but that does not remove the uncertainty that some patients feel during this time.
Traveling to rehab is often imperative based on the location of the patient. Finding a rehab that meets ones specific needs is crucial and sometimes that rehab will not always be within driving distance. Others may want to explore luxury rehabs in beautiful destinations, while others may want the opportunity to step away from the area that they used to use at and solely focus on their recovery. Thankfully, traveling can be done safely under CDC guidelines.
Current COVID regulations for travel vary by state. However, the CDC released new guidance on April 2, 2021.
The new guidelines issued by the CDC state that fully vaccinated travelers with an FDA approved vaccine:
It is important to note that you do not need to get tested or self-quarantine if you have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months. However, they should still follow all other travel recommendations.
To clarify, fully vaccinated travelers, in general, are people who are 2 weeks into their second dose of an FDA-approved vaccine. Examples of the 2-dose series include vaccines like Pfizer or Moderna. People who do not meet the above requirement are not fully vaccinated.
For those who are not vaccinated, different regulations apply when traveling. To protect yourself and others, the CDC recommends:
For those who choose not to get tested, please stay home. The CDC recommends unvaccinated travelers self-quarantine for 10 days after a trip. They also suggest avoiding people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days.
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Due to the spread of new or concerning variants when traveling internationally, people have a different set of guidelines to follow. Even if a person is fully vaccinated when visiting a foreign country, the individual must pay close attention to the COVID-19 situation before leaving.
For those who must travel during the pandemic, below are a few guidelines the CDC recommends for international travelers. Once an individual is fully vaccinated, if they choose to travel, the CDC recommends the following:
As a reminder, travelers who do not follow their destination’s requirements may be denied entry to their travel destination. These individuals will be required to return to the U.S.
People not fully vaccinated are recommended not to travel at this time to reduce their exposure to the virus. However, if a person needs to travel, the CDC does have guidelines she or he may follow like:
It is essential for anyone visiting a new destination to stay updated with the CDC’s guidelines. As time passes, more people will be vaccinated, and the rates of COVID-19 will change. In response, the CDC will update their recommendations to reflect the available scientific evidence and conditions. In the meantime, our team recommends everyone continue practicing social distancing and stay aware.
Traveling during the pandemic is possible. If you or a loved one are interested in traveling for rehab, reach out for help. Contact a treatment provider who can help answer your rehab-related questions. Do not wait another day.
Suzette Gomez earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Central Florida. Her desire to help others led her to a Pre-medical track with a focus on psychological and social development. After graduation, she pursued her passion for writing and began working as a Digital Content Writer at Recovery Worldwide LLC. With her background in medicine, Suzette uses both science and the arts to serve the public through her writing.