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A mommy blogger and Instagram influencer from New York City is getting a mixed reaction after informing followers that she packed up the kids and headed out west — in the middle of a pandemic.
Naomi Davis, who goes by Taza on Instagram, recently shared a post detailing her family’s plans to “drive out west” in an RV. Davis said her heart was “breaking” for New York — which is currently experiencing the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 of any state — but that she and her husband Josh felt it was best to leave the city for a while so the kids would have more outdoor space.
She also added that she and her family planned to eat and sleep inside the RV, in an effort to avoid exposing themselves to hotel or restaurant workers, just in case anyone in the family is infected with COVID-19 and isn’t showing any symptoms.
The post generated thousands of responses from followers and other Instagram users, some of whom applauded her decision as “the right thing to do for her family,” or praised her for being conscious enough to maintain social distance from essential workers.
"I'm recovering from Covid-19 right now and can tell you that you've absolutely done the right thing for your family. There's simply no way to isolate in an apartment if one of you gets it," one follower wrote.
Others, however, took issue with the fact that Davis was leaving at all, especially after New Yorkers were urged to stay home as much as possible by Gov. Andrew Cuomo the previous week. At that point, the White House had also advised that travelers coming from New York should self-quarantine for 14 days to avoid spreading the virus.
“While I recognize the importance of supporting one another during times such as this one, your decision to leave literally THE largest hotspot in the United States is putting many other people at risk,” wrote one commenter. “If everyone makes the decision to leave New York City, other states’ healthcare systems are quickly going to be overburdened by the number of cases, just as New York’s is now.”
Experts who spoke with Buzzfeed News also questioned the family’s plans. Lawrence Gostin, a Georgetown University professor of global health law, told the outlet that they can’t completely isolate from the rest of the world despite eating and sleeping in the RV, as they’d still need to purchase gas and food, and likely interact with people anyway.
“The only place you can literally separate yourself from society at home," he told Buzzfeed News.
Davis, who also blogs at LoveTaza.com, has since posted an update for her 465,000 Instagram followers on her account, saying on Monday that she’s aware her decision “upset some of you and it is understandable.”
She explained that she and her family left the city on Friday, a day before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a domestic travel advisory for New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, urging them to avoid non-essential travel. She also said she and her husband tried to plan the trip so they’d have as little contact with other people as possible, packing the RV with food, toiletries and other essentials before leaving New York.
“I want you to know we will not be going out, not to stores, or parks, or even around the block,” she wrote Monday, just prior to arriving at her unnamed “place of quarantine.”
She concluded by saying she was only trying to make the best decisions for her family.
“We are all living in such uncertain times and I’m just as scared as anyone else. I don’t know if this explanation helps, but I am trying to do my best to take care of my kids and my family.
“I am going to keep taking this seriously and will be very careful during the coming days and months. We will all get through this.”