By Heather Grey
Earlier this month the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 at community events and gatherings.
The agency has also issued recommendations to help people manage the risk during other personal and social activities.
Some Activities Pose Higher Risk<p>Some types of community events, gatherings, and activities pose greater risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission than others, warns the CDC.</p><p>Virtual events and gatherings held online or over the phone provide the safest option for connecting with other people, the agency advises.</p><p>When it comes to in-person activities, smaller outdoor gatherings tend to pose lower risk than larger gatherings and those held indoors.</p><p>The less time that people spend in close contact with each other, the less likely they are to contract the virus or pass it to others — especially if everyone wears a face mask.</p><p>"The most effective way to reduce risk is to avoid large indoor gatherings altogether. This setting poses the highest risk of exposure and potential transmission of the virus," <a href="https://www.northwell.edu/find-care/find-a-doctor/emergency-medicine/dr-robert-glatter-md-11353725" target="_blank">Dr. Robert Glatter</a>, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told Healthline.</p><p>"Outdoor events while wearing a mask represent a safer option," he continued.</p><p>"Virtual meetings are the best way to have a meeting in this context," he said.</p>
Risk Varies From Place to Place<p>When someone is assessing the risk that an event, gathering, or other activity may pose, the CDC encourages them to take their local circumstances into account.</p><p>Some municipalities and states have issued stricter guidelines and rules around events, gatherings, and other activities, compared with others.</p><p>The rate of transmission and how likely you are to get the virus also vary from place to place, both within and between states.</p><p>If an event or gathering is held in an area where virus transmission rates are high, that raises the risk that someone with SARS-CoV-2 will attend and pass it on to others.</p><p>If someone travels to an event or gathering from outside the local area, they may carry the virus with them or pick it up in transit and pass it to other attendees after they arrive.</p><p>"Having a family reunion where people are flying in from 30 different states is much riskier than having a cookout with your neighbors," Cioe-Pena said.</p>
Some People More Vulnerable<p>Some community members face heightened risk of developing severe illness if they do contract SARS-CoV-2.</p><p>For example, older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be more likely to develop a severe infection or complications.</p><p>The CDC advises people to take those personal risk factors into account when planning an activity or deciding whether to participate in one.</p><p>"If it's a family gathering where there are a fair number of older persons who are over age 60, many of whom likely have underlying illnesses, that's a group I'd be much more cautious about," <a href="https://www.vumc.org/health-policy/person/william-schaffner-md" target="_blank">Dr. William Schaffner</a>, an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told Healthline.</p><p>"If the COVID virus got to that gathering and spread among them, it could make a lot of them very seriously ill," he said.</p>
Protect Yourself and Others<p>To lower your risk for contracting or transmitting SARS-CoV-2, the CDC recommends keeping at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and members of other households.</p><p>When you can't maintain 6 feet of distance from members of other households or you're spending time around those people indoors, the CDC recommends wearing a face mask.</p><p>If you're helping to host an event, gathering, or other activity, you may need to limit attendance, make changes to the layout of your venue, or use other strategies to enable attendees to keep their distance from each other.</p><p>If your guests or event attendees will be eating with each other, consider asking them to bring their own food and drinks or take steps to limit the number of people who touch food containers, condiments, and serving ware.</p><p>For example, designate one person to serve all of the food.</p><p>Frequent handwashing is also important for reducing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, the CDC advises. So is regularly cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs and light switches.</p>
When in Doubt, Stay Home<p>If you've tested positive for the virus or have symptoms of COVID-19, or you've had close contact with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 within the past 14 days, the CDC advises you to stay home.</p><p>If you're hosting an event or gatherings, ask attendees to stay home if they've tested positive for the virus, have any symptoms, or been in close contact with someone with symptoms in the past 2 weeks.</p><p>"I think we have to be very mindful that social distancing has flattened the curve in many parts of this country, and if we want to keep it flat, we have to keep doing that," Schaffner said.</p><p>"I know it's tedious, I know it's disruptive, I know it's uncomfortable. I know it makes many people unhappy — but it's necessary," he added.</p>
Luxembourg Transport Minister Francois Bausch hailed a "great day" for the Grand Duchy, as it became the first country on Earth to make public transport ticket free.
Commuters, Visitors Will Benefit Too<p>"You will no longer need a ticket to board any national bus, train or the tram," proclaimed Luxembourg's public transport consortium Saturday, adding: "Commuters from neighboring countries will benefit from reduced fares!"</p><p>It warned Luxembourgers however: "Free public transport ends at the border, so you must get a cross-border pass or ticket if you plan to travel outside of the territory of the Grand Duchy."</p><p>Tickets would also be needed for first-class travel on trains.</p><p>To end traffic jams, Luxembourg in 2017 opened the <a href="http://www.luxtram.lu/de/dokumentation/bildergalerie/" target="_blank">first section of its planned tram service</a> from the capital's southern outskirts to its airport to the north.</p><p>And it's now focused on <a href="https://mobilitegratuite.lu/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Modu2.0-%E2%80%93-A-multimodal-strategy-BAT-Web.pdf" target="_blank">anticipating travel demand</a>, doubling "Park+Ride" car parking spaces "especially at borders" and establishing "cohesive" cycle routes across its 2,586-square-kilometer (998-square-mile-) landscape.</p><p>Alone for its nascent track network, 4 billion euros are being invested over the period 2018 to 2027, to cater for an anticipated 20 percent rise in public mobility needs by 2025.</p><p><span></span>That amounts to €600 per Luxemburg resident per year on rail transport, says the ministry.</p>
Stuck in Traffic<p>A survey done in 2018 by TNS Ilres found that cars in Luxembourg accounted for 47 percent of business travel and 71 percent of leisure transport.</p><p>By 2030, its public transport fleet is expected to have "alternative drive technology," a reference to electric motorization. </p><p>Luxembourg, by area one of Europe's smallest sovereign states but one of four EU seats, including the European Court of Justice, is staffed by commuters who travel daily from neighboring France, Belgium and Germany.</p>
Population Growth<p> The 614,000-person dukedom, with comparatively high wages, is facing strong growth in population. Almost half are foreigners, including resident Portuguese citizens making up 18 percent, and French at 13 percent. </p><p> Bausch, a former Luxembourg rail civil servant and member of the Greens, is also Luxembourg's deputy prime minister in a three-party liberal-social democrat-greens coalition government renewed in 2018 and headed by premier Xavier Bettel.<br> </p><p> In neighboring Germany, Alexander Handschuh, spokesman for the country's DStGB local bodies association, said Luxembourg's move signaled a paradigm shift because it was trying "very resolutely with an all-round concept" to boost public transport. </p>
- 6 Ways Traveling Professionals Can Cut Their Carbon Footprint ... ›
- Using Uber and Lyft Might Not Be as Green as You Think - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
- We can all take steps to reduce the environmental impact of our work-related travels.
- Individual actions — like the six described here — can cumulatively help prompt more collective changes, but it helps to prioritize by impact.
- As the saying goes: be the change you want to see in the world.
1. Travel With Trust<p>When looking for a place to stay, look for accommodations that utilize various sustainability standards. This may include facilities that use renewable energies or are a part of coalitions such as <a href="https://www.wemeanbusinesscoalition.org/" target="_blank">We Mean Business</a> that are striving to reduce waste in all aspects of their operations. Use the Global Sustainable Tourism Council's <a href="https://www.gstcouncil.org/gstc-criteria/gstc-recognized-standards-for-hotels/" target="_blank">list</a> of trusted standards used in different countries as a guide.</p>
2. Travel Light<p>Just like at home, traveling is an opportunity to think carefully about what you consume and how. Minimize your use of the mini toiletries at your hotel (most of which are being <a href="https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/9/19/20863270/tiny-plastic-toiletries-ban" target="_blank">phased out</a> since they are single-use, non-recyclable plastics). Reduce your overall water footprint by opting for "green choice" programs to reuse your towels and sheets during your stay. Better yet, leave a note saying you would like to see more package-free, sustainable purchasing in all of the hotel's operations! Take a step further by reducing or eliminating your own waste by bringing your own items, like a reusable coffee cup, water bottle and other utensils. (Foldable cups, bottles and utensils are ideal for most business baggage and are a great way to impress clients and colleagues.) More impactfully, change your dietary choices by opting for red meat-free or plant based meals.</p>
3. Travel Small<p>Whether flying, on the ground, or in your room, small is generally better. If you must fly, get better carbon savings by staying in economy. If you can't take a train or bus and need to take a car (taxi, ride-hailing, or otherwise) opt to pool, and look for a small hybrid, or ideally an electric vehicle (EV).</p>
4. Travel Slowly<p>Avoiding air travel all together is an impactful way to reduce your carbon emissions. Compared to most of our European counterparts, those of us in North America have a hard time getting a good train or bus; but Amtrak, VIA Rail, regional transit and bus services are improving and, throughout the world, many of these options are readily available. "<a href="https://www.impacttravelalliance.org/" target="_blank">Slow travel</a>" is gaining traction around the world and offers opportunities to travel not only with lower emissions, but more comfortably, too.</p>
5. Travel Regeneratively<p>Concepts like <a href="https://offset.climateneutralnow.org/" target="_blank">carbon offsetting</a> can be complex, but the principle behind them is simple: if we cannot avoid certain negative impacts in what we do, we must always search for ways to mitigate those impacts. To be fair, there are many valid and varied critiques of carbon offsets and other mechanisms like them. However, so long as air travel and other environmentally significant travel are options that cannot be avoided, negotiate with your employer to purchase carbon offsets as a meaningful way to help repair some of the damage we inflict while doing sometimes unavoidable work.</p>
6. Travel Carefully<p>The most important decision that someone who travels for work can make is whether or not they need to travel at all. Telecommuting isn't always ideal, but the energy associated with travel — particularly for high-income or high-ranking professionals — is immense and one has to really be able to make a clear rationale for why a particular trip matters. Use carbon calculators and have a clear sense of the metrics you're measured on, as to how this trip can contribute (or not) to your work.</p>
From Behavioral Change to Systems Change<p>As Millennials and Generation Z move into positions of greater authority in the workplace, it is incumbent on us to leave a better path for those who come next.</p><p>Many Global Shapers are starting to explore ways to embed sustainable travel in both our individual and organizational practices and we invite you — the reader — to <a href="mailto:%email@example.com?subject=6%20ways%20travelling%20professionals%20can%20cut%20their%20carbon%20footprint%20-%20Feedback" target="_blank">reach out to us</a> with any ideas and suggestions on our list. This could look like building a contractor or employment agreement for your job that explicitly mandates or supports sustainable travel. Better yet, use your conscientious travel as an opportunity to spark an organization-wide conversation about developing a sustainable travel policy.</p><p>In the end, the climate crisis and environmental challenges around the world require both individual and collective action. Global Shapers, and members of the World Economic Forum, are privileged, connected and prominent leaders. We cannot wait for policies or procedures to be in place before we start mobilizing for change, but rather we can and must leverage our positions in society to create the baseline of expectations for living in balance with the planet. As the old saying goes, we must be the change we wish to see in the world.</p>
- Change the Way You Wash Your Hair to Help Save the Environment ... ›
- One Simple Trick to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint - EcoWatch ›
- The Essential Guide to Eco-Friendly Travel - EcoWatch ›
By Arthur Sullivan
When was the last time you traveled by plane? Various researchers say as little as between 5 and 10 percent of the global population fly in a given year.
Not Just the CO2<p>Many estimates put aviation's share of global CO2 emissions at just above 2 percent. That's the figure the industry itself generally accepts.</p><p>But according to Stefan Gössling, a professor at Sweden's Lund and Linnaeus universities and co-editor of the book <em>Climate Change and Aviation: Issues, Challenges and Solutions</em>, "That's only half the truth."</p><p>Other aviation emissions such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), water vapor, particulates, contrails and cirrus changes have additional warming effects.</p>
New Tech Can't Solve Everything<p>As awareness of the need to reduce our individual and collective carbon footprints in order to prevent <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/2017-the-year-climate-change-hit/a-41944142" target="_blank">climate catastrophe</a> grows, several industries have come under sustained pressure to find clean solutions.</p><p>The aviation sector made its own promises — in October 2016, 191 nations agreed a UN accord which aims to cut global aviation carbon emissions to 2020 levels by 2035. Another ambitious target of that agreement is for the aviation industry to achieve a 50 percent carbon emission reduction by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.</p><p>Goater says there are four ways in which the aviation industry intends to achieve these things: through carbon offsetting in the short-term, the continued development of more efficient planes, deeper investment in <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/climate-friendly-air-travel-say-what/a-39549089" target="_blank">sustainable fuels</a> — such as biofuels — and through better route efficiency. </p><p>"Basically air traffic control is very inefficient," he explained. "It creates unnecessary fuel burns and more efficient use would create a 10 percent reduction in emissions."</p><p>He also highlights the fact that a number — albeit very few — of commercial flights are now powered with sustainable fuels every day, despite the fact that the first such flight took off less than a decade ago.</p><p>"That was something that happened much faster than anyone was expecting," he says. The key now, in his view, is for the industry to prioritize investment in the area and for governments to commit in the same way they have to<a href="https://www.dw.com/en/the-race-to-e-mobility/a-39954624" target="_blank"> e-mobility</a> in the automobile sector.</p><p>But Gössling and many of his peers remain unconvinced.</p>
The hard truth?<p>So what's to be done? Gössling, who has devoted more than 20 years of research to the subject, sees only one solution.</p><p>"Do we really need to fly as much as we do, or is the amount we fly induced by the industry?" he asked. In addition to artificially <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/unfair-competition-the-battle-between-high-speed-rail-and-low-cost-airlines/a-41716660" target="_blank">low airplane ticket prices,</a> the industry also promotes a lifestyle, he argued.</p><p>"Airline campaigns project an image where you can become part of a group of people who are young, urban frequent flyers, visiting another city every few weeks for very low costs," he said.</p><p>Yet for Goater, the idea of dictating who can fly and when is as unrealistic as it is outdated.</p>
- Flight Plight: Why I Chose to Fly to an Environmental Journalism ... ›
- EPA Says It Will Limit Truck Pollution - EcoWatch ›
- JetBlue to Be First Carbon Neutral Airline in U.S. - EcoWatch ›
On Dec. 31, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) country office in China was informed of 27 patients with pneumonia of unclear cause in Wuhan — a metropolis with 19 million inhabitants in Hubei province.
The Good News<p>Eight patients are currently considered cured and have reportedly left the hospital.</p><p>Having identified the virus, experts are one step further in their search for what is triggering the mysterious <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/unknown-lung-disease-in-china/a-51902586" target="_blank">lung disease</a>.</p><p>The pathogen's gene sequence has been deciphered, according to the head of the team of Chinese experts, Xu Jianguo.</p><p>He said the cause is a new type of coronavirus found in the blood and saliva of 15 patients. An investigation into what brought about the outbreak will continue. </p><p>Gauden Galea, a WHO representative in China, also confirmed the discovery of the new strain of the coronavirus <a href="https://www.who.int/china/news/detail/09-01-2020-who-statement-regarding-cluster-of-pneumonia-cases-in-wuhan-china" target="_blank">in a statement</a>.</p><p>According to the WHO, the quick preliminary identification of the novel virus is a notable achievement and demonstrates China's increased capacity to manage new outbreaks.</p>
What are coronaviruses?<p>Coronaviruses were first found in humans in the 1960s. The name is derived from their appearance under the microscope: The peplomers, the outwardly protruding protein structures of the virus envelope, are arranged in the form of a crown (from Latin: <em>corona</em>).</p><p>Coronaviruses are common and infections are often harmless with patients developing only flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough and shortness of breath. Gastrointestinal complaints, especially diarrhea, can also occur. The incubation time for a coronavirus can vary from a few days to two weeks. </p>
How is the virus transmitted?<p>Zoonoses can be transmitted through direct contact between animals and humans as well as — like with many germs — simply through the air, such as by coughing or sneezing.</p><p>But there are many other ways of infection, for example through food or vectors. A mosquito, tick or other insect can transport a pathogen from the host to another organism without becoming ill itself. </p><p>In addition, zoonoses can also be transmitted via food, for example when eating meat or animal products. If these are not sufficiently heated or if they were prepared under unhygienic conditions, they also represent a source of infection.</p>
Lunar New Year: Be safe<p>Compared to the major instances of SARS and MERS, the current coronavirus outbreak is small, but experts said it should not be underestimated.</p><p>China is, therefore, exercising caution regarding the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in late January. Millions of people travel in buses, trains and airplanes to celebrate the holiday.</p><p>Wang Yang, the Chinese Transport Ministry's chief engineer, said authorities will step up efforts to prevent the pneumonia outbreak from spreading further during the holiday period, including ensuring proper disinfection in major public transportation hubs like airport and train stations.</p><p>Other Asian countries also stepped up precautions on entry, especially for travelers from Wuhan, and introduced fever controls to prevent the feared spread of the virus. To date, there are 16 suspected cases in Hong Kong, and a possible patient has been reported in Singapore. Not in all of the cases have a direct connection to Wuhan.</p>
How to protect yourself?<p>The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/pneumonia-china" target="_blank">released a statement warning</a> travelers to Wuhan to avoid animal markets and contact with animals or uncooked meat. People in the area should also avoid the sick and wash their hands frequently with soap and water.</p><p>Those who have been to Wuhan and feel ill should seek medical help immediately and avoid contact with others, the report said.</p><p>Before the doctor is consulted, the practice or clinic should be informed about the travel history and symptoms.</p><p>The WHO did not issue a specific travel warning.</p>
- Black Death Is Back! Two Cases of Plague Confirmed in China ... ›
- Unknown Lung Disease in China - EcoWatch ›
Walk or Run<p>For those who don't have access to a cardio machine over the holidays, the solution is straightforward.</p><p>Do your cardio routine the old-fashioned way and go outside for a walk or run.</p><p>"If you're traveling somewhere where it's warm and you can go outside to walk or jog or anything like that, it's a nice option," <a href="https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/sports-medicine/team/physical-therapists/dr-ebner" target="_blank">D.R. Ebner</a>, PT, SCS, a physical therapist at The Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, told Healthline.</p><p>Even if it's chilly outside, bundling up and going for a brisk stroll is a good way to walk off that rich <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/christmas" rel="noopener noreferrer">Christmas</a> dinner and take in the lights while shedding some calories in the process.</p><p>A 20-minute walk can cover about a mile, which can burn off about <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/walking-for-weight-loss#section3" target="_blank">100 calories</a>, depending on a person's sex and weight.</p>
Resistance Bands<p>It's tough to take a weight training routine on the road.</p><p>It just isn't practical to pack bulky, heavy dumbbells into your luggage and there's no guarantee that your holiday destination will have alternatives.</p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercises/easy-resistance-band-exercises" target="_blank">Resistance bands</a> may not be able to provide the same heavy lifting workout as dumbbells, but they do offer something similar in a lightweight form that can fit into the palm of your hand.</p><p>"The easiest thing that anyone can do, as most research has shown, is resistance training, which helps increase metabolic rate," said Zarabi. "It doesn't mean you need to go to a gym and use a machine or lift dumbbells. Resistance bands, which are easily portable, are something you can throw in your luggage. They come in different colors for different intensity levels."</p>
Create a Stop-Gap Program<p>Anyone who has a daily fitness routine knows that traveling can throw things into chaos.</p><p>Rather than struggling to replicate your current program, or haphazardly fit workouts into your day, Ebner says it's helpful to establish a new routine for the days you're away from home.</p><p>This might entail doing exercises you don't usually do or adapting to your surroundings.</p><p>"You may not have a ton of space," he said. "But you can do workouts like pushups, jumping jacks, and situps."</p><p>"You can do, for instance, 10 pushups, and then some bodyweight squats and some lunges," Ebner noted. "You can repeat that two or three times and commit 10 or 15 minutes to it. Work hard, but keep it sustainable."</p>
Look Online<p>To add to his point of adapting to different surroundings, Ebner suggests going online to look for inspiration.</p><p>"On YouTube, there are all kinds of workout videos — anything from yoga to calisthenics," he said.</p><p>"If you're trying to fit an exercise in and you're not sure what to do, you can find guided routines where it's all spelled out for you and you can follow along," he added. "You don't have to overthink it."</p>
Don’t Sweat It<p>Even if there's enough space and equipment to work out, sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day when you factor in the social commitments of the holiday season.</p><p>Zarabi says it's good to approach the season with a goal not of losing weight, but maintaining your current weight.</p><p>This strategy even allows for some indulgences, provided they're reasonable.</p><p>"I always like to enforce the 80/20 rule: be good 80 percent of the time and enjoy the desserts and holiday treats 20 percent of the time," she explained. "Indulging on Christmas Day or at holiday parties is not enough to derail you from your lifestyle. It's the accumulation of what you do over the long term that really impacts your weight loss efforts."</p><p>Following the indulgent, or over-indulgent festive season, many of us make New Year's resolutions in an effort to improve things moving forward.</p><p>Instead of setting lofty goals for the new year, Zarabi suggests a more measured approach.</p><p>"If your resolution is better health, don't make it about the number on the scale," she said. "A lot of us judge ourselves by a size or weight, disregarding the fact that we can fluctuate 5 to 7 pounds after a dinner party. It's best to weigh yourself first thing in the morning at a dry weight and try not to obsess over the marker."</p><p>"I think that people need to be a little more forgiving of themselves and just get back to the basics the next day, instead of waiting for the magic to happen on New Year's Day," she added.</p>
- Even Small Amount of Running Decreases Risk of Death by Nearly ... ›
- Children Worldwide Aren't Getting Enough Exercise — Here's What ... ›
- 10 Minutes of Daily Exercise Could Prevent Disability in Old Age ... ›
valeriysurujiu / iStock / Getty Images Plus
By Adam Vaughan
While airlines only serve bottled drinking water directly to customers, they use the plane's water for coffee and tea, and passengers can drink the tap water. Aitor Diago / Getty Images
You might want to think twice before washing your hands in an airplane bathroom.
Prince Harry launched a sustainable travel initiative Tuesday in Amsterdam, a city that has been impacted by excessive tourism, the Associated Press reported.
By Carol Pucci, Yasmeen Wafai and Zeb Larson