The continuing rise of the Delta variant—and the fact that even vaccinated people can contract and transmit the virus—mean that caution is warranted in public as Americans head into fall. The CDC officially recommends that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people mask up in public settings. Experts say whether to visit those settings at all is a matter of calculated risk: Are you vaccinated? How high is the transmission rate in your local area? Do you live with anyone who is vulnerable? Here’s where and how they say you should exercise caution. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.

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The Delta variant is much more contagious than earlier strains of the coronavirus, which mean crowded indoor spaces—always a transmission hotspot—are even more risky. You may want to wear a face mask in those situations or skip them altogether. “We should still choose bigger spaces with fewer faces, and if we turn up to a location or event and feel there are too many people, we have to be ready to leave,” Dr. Gwen Murphy, PhD, MPH, director of epidemiology for Let’sGetChecked, told ETNT Health.

woman sitting inside airplane wearing KN95 FFP2 protective mask
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Eighty-one countries are now on the CDC’s Level Four COVID risk assessment list, meaning transmission is “very high” there. “Avoid travel to these destinations,” the CDC says bluntly. “If you must travel to these destinations, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.” On the list: the United Kingdom, France, Greece and Spain.  

woman with red curly hair laughing with her two friends in a restaurant
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Close quarters, often poorly ventilated—indoor restaurants and bars have been a major source of transmission during the pandemic, and the risk is still there. This week, Hawaii’s state health department reported 20 COVID clusters linked to restaurants. “If you are not vaccinated right now in the United States, you should not go into a bar, you should probably not eat at a restaurant,” Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, told CNN in July. “You are at great risk of becoming infected.” 

If you’ve been vaccinated, but live with people who are vulnerable to severe COVID or children who are ineligible for vaccination, you may want to reduce your risk by wearing a mask (when you’re not eating or drinking) or choosing outdoor seating.

RELATED: I’m a Doctor and Here’s How to Not Catch Delta

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Restaurants nationwide have introduced a number of new COVID safety initiatives, from increased outdoor seating to requiring patrons to present proof of vaccination on entry . However, there’s one type of dine-in experience you might want to think twice about. “Even within all the safety options, buffets are still going to be higher risk,” Kenneth Perry, MD, FACEP, told ETNT Health. “People are going to be closer to each other at the buffet line, and possibly not wearing masks.” 

RELATED: If You Live Here, You’re in COVID Danger Now

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Every public activity involves an element

Many people choose to go to college to further their education and boost their chances of getting a well-paying job. But not everyone can afford college, and some have no desire to take more classes after high school.

Fortunately, there are careers out there that don’t require a college education. Some of these jobs can provide workers with a comfortable salary. Here are seven high-paying careers that don’t require a traditional college degree.

1. Real estate agent

Median U.S. wage (May 2020): $49,040

Real estate agents help people buy and sell properties. You can become a residential or a commercial real estate agent. For this job, you’ll need to be great with people, have excellent sales skills, and be able to deal with high-stress situations.

Income can vary, as most real estate agents don’t make a base salary. Instead, they make a commission when properties close. The commission percentage varies by state and is based on the property’s sale price. More successful, experienced realtors tend to make more than the median wage.

While a traditional college degree isn’t a requirement, you need to study for and pass license exams to become a licensed real estate agent. Some states also require a certain number of hours to be spent on education and training.

►Job numbers:Economy added 235,000 jobs in August amid COVID surge, worker shortage. Unemployment fell to 5.2%.

►’I quit’:Workers change jobs at a record pace amid burnout, new openings with higher pay

2. Executive assistant

Median U.S. wage (May 2020): $63,110

Working as an executive assistant is a busy, fast-paced career option. The job provides administrative assistance and support to high-level executives. An executive assistant typically serves as a gatekeeper to anyone trying to meet with or talk to an executive. To succeed in this role, you’ll need to have good communication and organizational skills, be a problem solver, and be able to juggle multiple tasks at once.

Some executive assistants have college degrees, but it’s not always required. Previous administrative, project management, and leadership experience may help you land this role.

3. Electrician

Median U.S. wage (May 2020): $56,900

This career is in demand, no matter where you live. An electrician installs, maintains, and repairs electrical systems and products. Electricians can do work in residential buildings, commercial buildings, and factories. In this role, someone can work for a company or they can start their own business.

A college degree is not required to be an electrician. Some people choose to enroll in a trade program to learn how to become an electrician. It’s possible to complete these programs in less than a year before learning on the job in an electrician apprenticeship role. In most states, electricians need to be licensed. Licensing may be at the state or local level.

4. Sales representative

Median U.S. wage (May 2020): $86,650

Sales representatives sell products or services. Inside sales representatives sell from an office or home, while outside sales representatives travel around to meet with prospective

The pandemic disrupted many Americans’ work lives. Some of us — generally highly educated white-collar workers with relatively well-paying jobs — were able to shift to remote work. Millions of other workers, especially many poorly paid service workers, simply saw their jobs disappear when consumers stopped eating out and traveling.

Now the economy is recovering — a recovery that will probably continue despite the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus. But many Americans don’t want to go back to the way things were before. After a year and a half of working from home, many don’t want to return to the stress of commuting. And at least some of those who were forced into unemployment have come to realize how unhappy they were with low pay and poor working conditions, and are reluctant to go back to their previous jobs.

To be honest, when businesses first began complaining about labor shortages I was skeptical. These kinds of complaints always surface when the economy begins to recover from a slump and often mean only that job applicants have gotten a bit less desperate. Some of us also remember how, seven or eight years ago, Very Serious People insisted that we faced a major “skills gap” and would never be able to get unemployment down to the levels that prevailed before the financial crisis. (Spoiler: We did.)

At this point, however, it seems clear that something really is going on. You can see this from the data on vacancies: There are far more unfilled job openings than you would normally expect to see given the current level of unemployment, which is still fairly high.

You can also see it by looking at what’s happening in the sector hit hardest by the pandemic, leisure and hospitality (think restaurants and hotels). Employment in that sector is still well below its prepandemic level; but to bring workers back, the sector has had to offer big wage increases, significantly above the prepandemic trend.

In other words, some workers really don’t seem willing to go back to their old jobs unless offered substantially more money and/or better working conditions. But why is this happening? And is it a bad thing?

Conservatives insist that it is indeed a bad thing: Workers, they say, are refusing to take jobs because government aid is making unemployment too comfortable. But they would say that, wouldn’t they? Remember, they said the same thing in the aftermath of the financial crisis, claiming that the unemployed were being coddled — when the actual reason recovery was slower than it should have been was the destructive fiscal austerity imposed by Republicans in Congress.

That said, the case for worrying about the incentive effects of unemployment benefits is better now than it was then. Aid to the unemployed has been far more generous during the pandemic than it was during the Great Recession; the $300 per week supplement to existing unemployment benefits enacted in December and extended in March, although less than the

The latest COVID surge is sending shock waves across the travel industry, prompting many people with vacation plans to have second thoughts.

The delta variant is already affecting air travel. Both Southwest Airlines and Frontier earlier disclosed that bookings had slowed down because of the rise in infections. And travel sentiment is wavering, according to a new survey of customer sentiment, sliding four percentage points to 61 percent this month.

“Traveling during the delta surge presents additional safety risks due to increased transmissibility and travel uncertainties from trip cancellations or delays,” says Rajeev Shrivastava, CEO of VisitorsCoverage.com, an insurance marketplace. “In both cases, travel insurance can be your best safeguard.”

If you’re one of those having second thoughts about traveling, then you might be wondering if there’s a way to protect your upcoming trip with travel insurance or travel protection. There is, but it’s a process that requires a little insider knowledge and the right timing.

You need travel insurance “now more than ever”

But first things first: If you’re traveling, you almost definitely need some kind of travel protection.

“The delta variant has made travel even more unpredictable,” says Daniel Durazo, a spokesman for Allianz Partners USA. “The uncertainty facing travelers has made travel insurance even more important for families, especially those traveling with children who are too young to receive the vaccine.”

But not just any travel protection will do, experts say. It has to protect you against COVID and other likely perils.

“I always recommend buying comprehensive travel protection programs to insure against unexpected events,” says Karisa Cernera, senior manager of travel services at Redpoint Travel Protection, which sells Ripcord, Cavalry and Harbor insurance products. “But now more than ever.”

And the reason is simple — so much can go wrong when you’re on the road. That includes dangerous new variants, lockdowns, and quarantines, as well as heat waves, wildfires, and anything else Mother Nature could throw at you.

And she can pack a punch these days.

Questions about travel protection that you absolutely must ask before you leave

Experts say you have to ask these questions about your travel protection or travel insurance policy for any trip you’re planning. Failure to do so may land you in a lot of trouble — or worse.

Related: Best Covid-19 Travel Insurance Plans 2021

Does your policy include COVID-19 losses?

It absolutely must if you are planning a trip during or after the surge. That’s the recommendation of Bailey Foster, vice president of trip cancellations at Trawick International. “Many travel insurance providers still do not offer plans that protect against COVID-19,” she warns. Trawick’s plans have never excluded COVID-19 and don’t have any carve-out for the delta and lambda variants, he adds.

Are the delta

The coronavirus pandemic hit a lot of industries hard. But the hospitality industry, which includes hotels and restaurants, really bore the brunt of it.

Early on in the pandemic, many restaurants were forced to shutter for in-person dining and limit themselves to takeout and delivery only. And while hotels largely weren’t forced to close, travel activity declined substantially during the pandemic, resulting in record-low occupancy rates in 2020.

But now, things seem to be improving on the hospitality front. With coronavirus restrictions being eased or completely lifted, restaurants can, by and large, welcome back diners at full capacity. And with quarantine mandates being a thing of the past, travel has become a lot more viable, and hotels are already seeing strong surges in bookings.

There’s just one problem: The hospitality industry is in desperate need of workers. And if it doesn’t find them, the industry’s recovery could lag.

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Why aren’t more people applying for hospitality jobs?

In June, the U.S. economy added 850,000 new jobs, which was well over 100,000 more than economists were predicting. Leading the pack was the hospitality industry, which added 343,000 jobs after an uptick of 306,000 new jobs in May.

But while hospitality jobs may be available, applicants don’t seem to be biting. The problem has gotten so bad that restaurants, for example, have resorted to offering hiring bonuses just to get workers in the door.

So what gives?

Well, for one thing, in 24 states, jobless workers are still entitled to a $300 weekly boost in unemployment benefits through the beginning of September. That $300 is on top of their regular state benefits. When we compare those benefits to what some hospitality workers may be earning or have the potential to earn (think minimum wage), it’s easy to see why staying on unemployment might hold more appeal as long as that $300 boost remains in place.

Another issue could be access to health insurance. For many people, it’s worth it to return to a job for the health insurance alone. But many restaurant workers aren’t entitled to health benefits, and so they may be less motivated to apply for open positions.

Let’s also remember that hospitality jobs can be among the most dangerous from a pandemic perspective. They involve interacting with people, many of whom may no longer be wearing masks now that that requirement no longer exists. And in the case of restaurant workers, the exposure to non-masked people is constant. That’s a health

Even though the US job market is rapidly improving, the economy is still far from back-to-normal. Employers are expected to have added 700,000 jobs in June. Even if that holds true, the nation will still be down 6.9 million jobs compared with February 2020.

The unemployment rate is expected to inch down to 5.7% from 5.8% in May, according to analysts polled by Refinitiv.

Yet businesses are struggling to find workers, with various companies jacking up salaries to attract staff. That’s in part because America’s jobs mismatch issue is here to stay, at least for now, as businesses are still ramping up to cater to the newly revived demand for activities, such as outdoor dining.

Employers can’t hire workers fast enough, as many people continue to stay at home to care for their children or because they fear getting sick. Many who are looking for work are holding out for companies to raise pay and benefits — and some are able to be picky because of special pandemic unemployment benefits that will expire nationwide in September.

Also, everyone is hiring at the same time, making it more difficult for employers to find the right candidate for the job, Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP, told CNN Business Wednesday.

“Limited international migration, the wave of retirements and mismatches in the labor market appear to be playing a bigger role and will last well into 2022,” said Michael Pearce, senior US economist at Capital Economics.

Still, people are going back to work. Wednesday’s ADP Employment Report showed 692,000 private sector jobs added in June, with nearly half of them in the battered leisure and hospitality industry where the competition for staff is fierce.

And there’s potential for a rapid catchup: The May job openings report showed more than 9 million positions were available in the United States that month, and as vaccination levels rise further some people may feel comfortable returning to work.

Claims for unemployment benefits, meanwhile, fell to a new pandemic low last week with first-time claims at 364,000 with seasonal adjustments. It was the first decline in claims since early June. Continued claims, which count workers who have filed for benefits for at least two straight weeks, stood at 3.5 million on a seasonally adjusted basis in the week ended June 19.
Economists are also optimistic that the return to in-person schooling in September will alleviate the child care worries many parents are still facing.

The Labor Department’s report is due at 8:30 am ET on Friday.


8. Online Tutor

Average pay: $17.50 per hour

With so many schools closed to in-person classes during the pandemic, many families turned to online tutoring services to help their kids learn. That demand has created job opportunities for older adults, many of whom already have some experience in these professions. Among the companies recently hiring is iTutor, which helps students prepare for their college admissions exams. Like many of the employers in the online tutoring business, iTutor provides training for the workers it hires.

9. Project Manager

Average pay: $35.40 per hour

If you have experience guiding large projects from concept to completion, many companies may be willing to hire you even if the job posting asks for a college degree. The digital marketing firm Counterintuity was recently looking for a project manager able to work remotely. So was the National Older Worker Career Center.

10. Social Media Coordinator

Average pay: $19.04 per hour

In these jobs, you take on the responsibility for a company’s interactions with people through its official accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms. You’ll need experience producing posts that are engaging but also reflect the voice and values of your employer.

11. Tech Support Specialist

Average pay: $24.95 per hour

If you have a knack for helping your coworkers solve problems with their laptops or other office technology, this job could appeal to you. Experience troubleshooting with networking technologies is generally a requirement for these positions.

12. Transcriptionist

Average pay: $17.07 per hour

These jobs require you to listen to audio recordings — of meetings, TV shows, podcasts, etc. — then type up what was said so people can read it later. In many cases, the hours are flexible, with workers choosing which files they want to transcribe, then getting paid once the assignments are complete. The technology company Rev was one of many employers recently seeking remote transcriptionists.

13. Translator

Average pay: $21.06 per hour

If you’re fluent in a language in addition to English, many employers could be looking to hire you. Your typing and editing skills will also need to be strong.

14. Travel Agent

Average pay: $18.43 per hour

As COVID-19 restrictions on travel continue to lift, many travel agencies are hiring workers to help them handle clients’ needs. Employers typically ask that applicants have some experience in the field, but a degree is rarely required.

15. Virtual Assistant

Average pay: $19.62 per hour

This occupation got a boost during the pandemic as many employers turned to gig workers and short-term freelancers when everyone was working remotely. You generally won’t need a college degree, but you should have experience using such software as, for example, Microsoft Office, PowerPoint and QuickBooks.

Kenneth Terrell covers employment, age discrimination, work and jobs, careers and the federal government for AARP. He previously worked for the Education Writers Association and U.S. News & World Report, where he reported on government and politics, business, education, science and technology, and lifestyle news.

When a 50-something South African contracted Legionnaires’ disease during a trip to the US, little did he know how fast the medical bills would stack up.

Legionnaires’ is a severe form of pneumonia caused by a bacterium known as Legionella. With the help of his travel insurance provider, he spent two months receiving treatment at St Patrick’s Hospital in Louisiana.

He then spent time at a long-term acute care unit and underwent a series of outpatient rehabilitation and physiotherapy sessions before returning home to South Africa. The total cost of his claim amounted to R7.3 million.

He is among thousands of travellers who encounter unforeseen medical or emergencies during their travels. Without comprehensive travel insurance, many spend decades paying off the expenses incurred.

Of course, choosing the right travel insurance and knowing the T&Cs before you embark on a trip is equally important.

Simmy Micheli, the manager of sales and marketing at Travel Insurance Consultants, said the heartbeat of travel insurance was emergency medical and related expenses cover.

She said a comprehensive policy included cover for losses incurred as a result of any of the listed perils for cancellation/curtailment of your trip, death and disability cover, personal liability cover, luggage cover and various other inconvenience benefits.

“A serious event can run into the millions, so having travel insurance is essential when embarking on a trip. Your premiums are paid in rand, but your claims are paid in foreign currency.

“Your policy will also include other benefits that you will need to discuss with your provider,” she said.

Know what you are covered for

Taking travel insurance isn’t as simple as booking a flight ticket or accommodation. It takes time to choose cover that will protect you should an emergency arise during your trip.

Micheli advised travellers to read their travel insurance documents and ask questions before signing.

“When you take out travel insurance, you will be alerted of your benefits, benefit limits, conditions of cover and exclusions.

“Always read the fine print. No insurance company is going to pay claims that you are not covered for,” she said.

According to law, travel insurance companies are liable to pay out valid claims.

“Insurance is strictly legislated in South Africa. Insurers must pay what they are liable for in terms of their cover. If the client disagrees with the insurer’s decision, they can contact the ombudsman. All insurers must include a complaints procedure and details of the ombudsman and recourse in the policy documents for easy access,” she said.

Cancellation benefit

Sometimes insurers do not pay out claims when a trip is cancelled. Micheli explained that the cancellation benefit of a travel insurance policy is frequently misunderstood.

“Cancellation cover can be regarded as an extension of your medical cover where your policy will cover you for losses if you are unable to travel due to an unexpected medical condition. The insurer will list the events you are insured for and any event not listed won’t be insured.”

She said the benefit

With unemployment benefits running out soon, the good news is that many companies are hiring this spring. Here are some of the businesses with the most opening right now.

Morgan Baylor like many other restaurant workers, found herself in the unemployment line last April. “During quarantine, a lot of people were out of work. A lot of restaurants were done,” Baylor said. But now she’s back at work.

Next to the hotel industry, restaurants were some of the hardest-hit businesses during the shutdown last year. Owner and Chef Jose Salazar says now is the time to apply for restaurant jobs. “Everyone in our industry is hiring right now. It’s actually hard to find people to work,” Salazar said.

So with the help of the employment site, monster.com here are some jobs coming back the fastest in 2021. “At Monster, we are seeing a return of jobs in the leisure sector, accommodation and food services,” Monster.com’s Vicki Salemi said.

You’ll find the most listings right now in hotels, restaurants and nursing which was hit hard last year when elective surgeries and doctor visits stopped.

Then comes construction, especially home building in this red hot home buying market. Next is shipping and logistics, getting goods from point a to point b.

“We are looking to hire a thousand people across the country,” Total Quality Logistics President Kerry Byrne said. Total Quality Logistics is the second largest freight brokerage firm in the nation. They need sales people, accountants, freight bookers and more.

After shipping comes airlines rehiring pilots, flight attendants and gate workers. Then Information Technology, I.T. Finally, day care as home based workers move back to the office.

Morgan Baylor is thrilled to be working again. “It’s only going to go up from here,” Baylor said.

“I believe we can will things to happen if we try hard enough,” Salazar said.

With some states ending unemployment benefits by June and others by September, now is a great time to look for work, so you don’t waste your money.

 (Shutterstock / Sopotnicki)

(Shutterstock / Sopotnicki)

Being an octogenarian doesn’t mean you need to give up on the delights of foreign travel. Just make sure you’ve got your travel insurance sorted first to enjoy a stress-free time abroad. Our guide explains how cover can differ for older travellers and what to look out for when buying a policy.

Do I need travel insurance?

Essentially, yes. If you heading abroad without insurance you are taking a big risk. Whatever age you are, the right travel insurance policy will cover a range of unwanted scenarios such as illness or injury, loss of belongings, flight cancellations, and holiday disruptions. Without travel cover in place, you’ll likely have to pay your own way out of a crisis which can be expensive. So, a fit-for-purpose travel insurance policy buys extra buy peace of mind.

What does travel insurance cover?

Policies vary, but typically cover the following:

  • Medical expenses in an emergency. This could include hospital stays, an operation, medication and, even, repatriation.

  • Loss, damage or theft of luggage, valuables or money.

  • Travel delays and disruptions, including needing to be flown home early because of illness or the death of a close relative.

Because you never know when you might need travel insurance, providers usually have 24-hour helpline to offer assistance. Always check availability around such support when you take out a policy.

Can I get over-80s travel insurance?

Some providers limit cover to those aged up to 79. But if you’re aged 80 plus, don’t be put off because travel insurance is still available. You might find it is slightly more expensive and you should check that the terms of the policy cover your specific needs. Pick the right one and an over-80s travel insurance policy may even offer cover for travellers aged up to 100.

What sort of policy should I opt for?

It depends how much you’re looking to travel, the location, and what you plan to do. If it’s a one-off trip after which you plan to hang up your beach towel or hiking boots for good, then a single trip policy will offer the most cost-effective option. But if you’re looking to travel more than once in a 12-month period, then multi-trip annual travel insurance is often the way forward. Make sure your policy tallies with the locations you’re planning to visit. Customers typically choose policies covering worldwide, Europe, or UK-only.

Can I get over-80s travel insurance if I have a medical condition?

As we get older, so the chances of having a health condition increase. If you are looking to travel with a pre-existing medical condition it’s important to be upfront about it with your insurer. Even though it might be more expensive, failure to declare a known condition risks invalidating your policy.

The good news is that there are providers who specialise in travel insurance for older travellers with medical conditions. The Government’s Money Advice Service website has a directory of more than 30 providers that will tell you what