No one can travel easily these days, and that is particularly true if you are looking for some leisure travel. Even the most frequent travelers are not making any sorts of plans except for the year’s end. They are looking at places where there are few crowds, lots of sunlight, and plenty of private villas from which to choose. In other words, they are looking at the tropics, and particularly the Caribbean region.
For many decades the Caribbean has been a spot for retreating from the winter weather or enjoying the tropical conditions. Now, with the global pandemic, it may also be one of the safest spots to visit once the social distancing and quarantine restrictions are lifted.
Why? There are three reasons that experts suggest the Caribbean as the ideal year’s end or winter sanctuary:
- The COVID 19 virus (the coronavirus) dies quickly when exposed to UV or ultraviolet light.
- Respiratory virus transmissibility is decreased in hot and humid conditions. For instance, many are unaware that the influenza virus is durable enough to exist outside of a host for almost an entire day. However, this is only if it is in a cold, dry climate. In a hot and humid setting, it can exist, at best, for an hour!
- Sun exposure causes your body to produce vitamin D, and there are profound health benefits to be enjoyed from this synthesizing process – especially if you are worried about COVID 19.
Let’s look at that first point – the issue of UV light.
Coronavirus and UV Rays
A recent article from NBC news noted that researchers have been working non-stop to figure out how the coronavirus that leads to COVID 19 operates. Their findings are fascinating and include the simple fact that disinfectants are effective, but that UV “rays from the sun may have a powerful effect on the virus.”
The lead scientist on the team in the Homeland Defense research group said that “sunlight seems to be very detrimental to the virus…And so within minutes, the majority of the virus is inactivated on surfaces and in the air in direct sunlight.” This may provide scientists and health agencies with the means of erasing it from some of the most readily contaminated, public surfaces, including shopping carts, children’s playground equipment, and outdoor furniture.
Another finding is that “higher temperatures and humidity may also help kill the virus and reduce its transmission.”
The research team replicated conditions from a variety of settings around the globe and found that the virus had very low survivability in tropical conditions. They also learned that “common disinfectants found in the home such as isopropyl alcohol and bleach can in some cases destroy the virus within seconds.”
So, experts have already proven the point that COVID 19 is not well-suited to the Caribbean region with its seemingly endless sunlight and its typically warm and humid conditions. This makes it less likely to spread as aggressively or remain active in the entire region, even if there are still active zones in other areas of the globe.
Then there is the scientific evidence that vitamin D “levels appear to play a role in COVID-19 mortality rates.” A Science Daily report from Northwestern University says that “Researchers analyzed patient data from 10 countries. The team found a correlation between low vitamin D levels and hyperactive immune systems. Vitamin D strengthens innate immunity and prevents overactive immune responses. The finding could explain several mysteries, including why children are unlikely to die from COVID-19.”
What they have discovered is that an event in the human body known as a cytokine storm takes place in COVID 19 patients. If they are also vitamin D deficient, they can suffer “acute respiratory distress syndrome and death…[and] this s what seems to kill a majority of COVID-19 patients, not the destruction of the lungs by the virus itself. It is the complications from the misdirected fire from the immune system,” as that report indicates.
Vitamin D, however, boosts our immune systems and prevents them from going into an overactive state that would trigger that cytokine storm. Simply testing vitamin D levels and ensuring healthy and adequate amounts are present can reduce risks.
As noted, though, no one should consume excess quantities of vitamin D supplements as this can bring negative side effects. The best method is to enjoy at least an hour of sunlight daily, and consume a diet high in vitamins and minerals (including vitamin D).
The Caribbean Calls
These findings are encouraging and show we are not all that far from finding ways to reign in a bit of control over COVID 19. Until then, travel bans remain in place, and global health organizations continue to research and track the virus.
Right now, you can start to bring yourself a bit of mental relief by looking to the winter season and a visit to the Caribbean region. You will be glad to know that you do not have to leap back into traditional travel, however, and all of the crowds that winter seasons at the beach bring.
Instead, you can book a private villa in the Caribbean. As an example, islands like Barbados, St Barts, and the Turks and Caicos all have gorgeous luxury rentals. They will provide you with the added benefits of private beachfronts that allow you to maintain your comfort zone and some social distancing. They typically have pools and hot tubs, teams of expert housekeepers who know how to sanitize every surface and space, amenities like private gyms and home cinemas, and you can even book a chef to prepare your meals if you want to skip the restaurants.
Imagine yourself soaking up the sun (and generating all of that useful vitamin D), sitting in a hot and humid spot that is not friendly to a virus but more than friendly to you, and savoring amazing scenery. This is what you can enjoy this winter, and we highly recommend the Caribbean as your upcoming seasonal sanctuary!