Winter is gone and spring is finally here. For families and college students, this is the opportunity to relax and hit the beaches. Spring break is a popular time for young people to hit warmer destinations, but that doesn’t mean that COVID-19 has completely disappeared. Florida is a popular spring break destination for college students, making them vulnerable to getting COVID-19 because 600,000 students are expected to arrive in Florida.
With the vast accessibility of the vaccine, there are some researchers who said that it is least likely that spring breakers would spread COVID-19. The omicron variant is slowly disappearing. Jill Roberts, Associate Professor for USF College of Public Health, said, “I would worry about both and seeing a spike in both after spring break and especially because crowds facilitate the spread. And so yeah we’re going to watch, we watch every year, every year there’s a blip after spring break.” The new variant, the stealth omicron, has yet to pick up the pace in spreading across the country.
Roberts adds, “What I would be more concerned about is if we see a blip of a variant. So the Omicron [BA.2] is around. Strains have been detected in the US. That’s one of the major things that I’ll be watching for, just to see if that variant is picking up speed.”
According to the data from the spring break of 2021, it is evident that the number of COVID cases has risen because there were a large number of students going to warmer places for vacationing. The difference this year that makes spring breakers more confident in going to warmer places is that there are more resources available to combat the disease. Doctors say that people can still enjoy their time with friends and family over the spring break, but they should be mindful about wearing masks indoors because no one knows if there will be a new variant popping up. Roberts presses the concern that, “So many people do have that pandemic fatigue but I would say that you have the luxury of having pandemic fatigue, whereas a lot of other people do not. So for people who are immunocompromised, kids under the age of five, the pandemic is still ongoing and it’s still something they have to be aware of.”
Florida, North and South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey and California are currently at high risk of contracting COVID. If you are heading to these destinations for spring break, be sure you get the vaccine and follow the COVID-19 protocols!