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Will summer see a ‘travel window’ before fall infections rise? Here’s what medical experts say

For some homebound travelers yearning for a vacation, the question isn’t whether to book a vacation this year, but when. 

Enthusiasm for travel is at its highest point in a year, with 87% of American travelers expected to take a trip this summer, according to a survey conducted last week by travel market research company Destination Analysts.

But is the summer the best time to travel this year, or is it prudent to wait? Medical professionals present several scenarios of how the rest of 2021 may play out.   

1. A summer of low infection rates

2. A good summer and a ‘mild fall’

3. Flare-ups and outbreaks

4. The chance of another summer surge

Read more on summer travel in the age of Covid

Dr. Supriya Narasimhan, chief of infectious diseases at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, agreed that another summer surge is possible, even in places where vaccines are being aggressively rolled out.

She agreed that Covid is “less seasonal than flu” and said the factors which will affect whether another surge occurs are public compliance with masking, vaccine uptake and variants.

It is a game of cat-and-mouse with the virus mutating and the only way to stop it is to stop transmission,” she said. “We may yet hit a vaccine ‘wall’ in that people just don’t want to take it even if available.”

“In my opinion, we need more data to make travel decisions,” she said.

Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer, genetic testing start-up Tempus, health care tech company Aetion Inc. and biotech company Illumina. He also serves as co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ and Royal Caribbean’s “Healthy Sail Panel.”

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