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Amelia’s 1st birthday with Alexander and Annalise

My wife and I were packing this morning to leave on JetBlue later today for a five-day visit with our young grandchildren in the Los Angeles area. We were really looking forward to being with them. I certainly had been carefully following the evolution of the Covid-19 infection in northern California and the rest of the Northwest, but to date I thought the risk in Los Angeles was minimal. We were set with antiseptic wipes for the plane and hand sanitizer.

Sudden rise in risk

Then around 10 a.m. the NY Times reported that, “With six new cases [of Covid-19], Los Angeles County declares a local state of emergency.” That really changed the risk calculus in my mind. Even though traveling through the LAX airport is the only likely exposure we would face if we stay close with family, even that exposure brings on uncertainty. There undoubtedly are silent carriers in the LA community. Were I to get a fever upon return, how could I know with a high degree of confidence that it wasn’t Covid-19 without being tested. Could I possibly then infect staff or patients if I were asymptomatic? There really is no good answer.

Postponing trip to LA

Consequently, with obvious regret, we canceled today’s trip. My son and family were all disappointed. We will need to make do with FaceTime for the moment. And we’ll hope that the infection dies down over the next few months and we get a better handle on its detection, prevention and management so that our families can safely get together later this spring.

Think carefully about your own travel

The infectious situation in Los Angeles changed dramatically in just a day or two. Such an event is likely to be repeated in many other parts of our country, as well as foreign countries, over the next month or two. Conventions, large group gatherings, public transportation and so forth all represent much higher risk of catching and then likely spreading the Covid-19 infection. It really appears to us (Dr. Sobel and I) that we all should be exceedingly cautious and in general to restrict travel plans at least for the next two months while we see how this world-wide infection evolves. I hope my family’s personal example is helpful to you in your travel decisions.


  • Janet says:

    Great informative Newsletter, thanks very much.
    Janet Flammey

  • Laura Hanson says:

    Thank you for modeling thoughtful and compassionate behavior. The Boston Globe has a comprehensive article about this serious situation, including shows to binge watch while we stay away from crowds. Keep calm and retain your humor!

    • DrKanner says:

      Humor helps. Someone is circulating a missive from Netflix “to those who are complaining about the quarantine period and curfews, just remember that your grandparents were called to war; you are being called to sit on the couch and watch Netflix. You can do this,” they conclude.

      I expect so. Not without appropriate apprehension and more uncontrolled risk than we usually have. But we can get through this.

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