Published Oct 1
Peter Schnall, Professor of Medicine | U of California at Irvine
Airlines continue to make progress in improving the safety of passengers from contacting and contracting Covid-19. The filtered air in the planes is not the issue IF the planes have newer HEPA filters (not all do).

Unfortunately, the main safety problem is that on an airline passengers remain in close proximity to each other (often within 2 feet) and they are NOT necessarily required to remain masked during the entire flight. Airlines in fact encourage mask removal by providing food and beverages during most flights of greater than 1-2 hours duration. Some passengers take advantage of this by removing masks during flights after purchasing food and beverages and then extending the time they eat and drink (and keep their masks off). Anyone sitting within 6-10 feet of someone infected and not wearing a mask is at risk for infection.

It cannot be stressed enough that flying is risky during an epidemic and the most important safety measure is mask wearing (an N95) during the entire flight as well as in the airport (preferably also wearing a face shield as well to reduce the likelihood of virus falling on one’s face and mask).

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