Note: You can read a more recent post about this here and you can view live updated Coronavirus datanews, and a guide/FAQ here.

If you’ve been following my personal journey, then you know that I was planning to spend all of 2020 in Bali.

Unfortunately due to the coronavirus situation, I’ve decided to return to the U.S. until the situation stabilizes.

I’m more safety-oriented than the average person but I’ll share my evaluation process in case you’re thinking about traveling abroad.

Why did I return to the U.S.?

My overall evaluation is that this is a time of global instability and uncertainty. I decided that until the situation stabilizes, I’m best off living in a place where I wouldn’t mind getting stuck.

Based on my extensive research, it appears that this situation is much more likely to get worse before it gets better.

  1. There are a lot of unknowns around Coronavirus right now. The medical community is still figuring out how deadly this virus is and what the long-term effects are.
    1. In the meantime, it’s spreading like wildfire and has reached more than 70 countries (with ~50 of those coming in the last week)
    2. Multiple virus experts are estimating that this may infect 40-70% of the world’s population in the next 12 months
  2. You’re starting to see countries shutting down borders, closing schools countrywide, and banning public gatherings
  3. It recently came out that Indonesia has barely tested for coronavirus (136 total tests)
  4. Airlines are shutting down flights to/from infected areas (Korea, Iran, Italy, etc) and so if there’s a significant outbreak, there’s a risk of getting stranded and (hopefully) waiting for government evacuation
  5. Bali has an extraordinarily high number of tourists from all over the globe, so the risk of widespread infection is much higher than most places
  6. The U.S. has better medical care and infrastructure than Indonesia

What is my recommended travel advice?

At a minimum, follow the US State Department’s travel guidance. They advise not to travel to countries with widespread outbreaks.

In the words of Ruth Carrico, a travel medicine specialist at the University of Louisville, “It’s a moving target. We’re at a point where we don’t have enough information to help people make an accurate assessment.”

If you’re more cautious, then I would advise against going to countries that don’t have good healthcare and where you wouldn’t be comfortable getting stuck (as borders continue to close and international travel continues to slow down).

If you’re older or have an existing medical condition, definitely don’t travel.

Isn’t this just the media freaking out in an effort to get attention and make money?

This is what I thought at first. But the World Health Organization has declared this as “uncharted territory”, medical experts are warning that this may infect 40-70% of the world’s population, governments worldwide are declaring emergencies, and airlines are shutting down flights to/from majorly infected countries.

Not to sound too doomsday here but this is actually a major issue and something to monitor closely.

If I’m young and healthy, this isn’t an issue though. Right?

Yes and no. While the mortality rates are extremely low for young and healthy people, this is a new virus and it’s unclear what the long-term effects will be and the sample size is still fairly small.

Also, the whistleblower, Dr. Li Wenliang, was a 33-year-old healthy doctor and he died from Coronavirus.

What Are Some Basic Tips To Minimize Your Infection Risk?

  1. Wash your hands frequently
  2. Stay away from anyone who’s coughing or sneezing
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  4. If you have fever, cough, or trouble breathing – seek medical care immediately

Source: World Health Organization