Skip to main content
By The Way
Detours with locals. Travel tips you can trust.

Is it safe to travel while BA.5 spreads? Health experts weigh in.

The omicron offshoot poses a high risk of infection, even for fliers who have had vaccinations and past cases

(iStock/Washington Post illustration)
Placeholder while article actions load

Summer travel is booming, and while most pandemic-era restrictions in airports are gone, the coronavirus has more surprises in store.

BA.5, the latest subvariant of omicron, is spreading rapidly, becoming the dominant variant in the United States and creating a wave of covid-19 cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting an average of more than 120,000 new cases a day in the United States, and that does not include the massive estimates of people who are not reporting results from home tests. Hospitalizations in the United States have increased 10 percent over the past week, according to tracking data from The Washington Post.

While people have been relying on their vaccinations and antibodies from previous infections, experts say those factors offer limited protection against the BA.5 variant. President Biden’s administration is urging Americans to get boosted and take advantage of antiviral treatments.

Given the uncertainty of the moment, we consulted health experts for some advice on best practices and staying safe.

You should still test for travel, health experts say