“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” says the popular adage. Last week I rendezvoused in Las Vegas, Nevada with a few friends for a mini reunion. We were all vaccinated and single or double boosted. The date of the reunion was set before the federal district court decision on April 17 that rescinded the mask requirement in U.S. airports and on domestic flights.

I flew to Vegas last Sunday and returned on April 28. The experience was radically different from other flights during the pandemic. Almost no one was wearing masks in the airports or on the planes. The amount of virus in the air must be enormous compared to when masks were mandatory. It was scary.

Typical airport scene. Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

I’m fully vaccinated and double boosted. I wore a KN95 mask/respirator during travel (except eating and drinking) and generally indoors in Vegas. KN95s block 95% of particles the size of SARS-CoV-2.

KN95 respirator/mask

No one I encountered had obvious symptoms, but on the return I experienced cough and runny nose similar to a bad cold. I tested positive for Covid when I got home and am isolating for five days.

Austin, Texas

The symptoms have become less severe and now seem like a very minor cold. If I hadn’t taken a test and confirmed the infection, I would have no reason to avoid circulating in public and spreading the infection unknowingly.

Final Thoughts

If there is a lot of virus in the air, people are vulnerable even when wearing the best masks much less cloth ones. If you are in public (especially airports and airplanes) it is important to be vaccinated and boosted to minimize the chances of a serious outcome if you are infected.

Take care, and happy travelling!