Department of Defense study suggests that COVID-19 less likely to spread on airplanes
A study from the Department of Defense found that flying on an airplane amid the pandemic may be safer than previously thought.
The research indicates that COVID-19 is less likely to spread on an airplane than in your home or office.
The study was conducted at Dulles International Airport in August, aboard Boeing 777 and 767 jets.
Researchers used a mannequin, wearing a mask and unmasked, in different places around the planes and released fluorescent particles designed to mimic the virus. Around 300 tests were conducted on the ground and in the air.
Dr. Roxanne Carfora, of St. James, agrees with the findings, pointing out that airlines use high air exchange rates, as well as HEPA-filters. She also says airlines have stepped up their game in making sure the aircraft is sanitized and disinfected.
"As a physician, I do feel that air travel is safe, and it is because the airlines are doing their due diligence to decontaminate the aircraft, and also to check their staff members that are serving you,” she says. “Masking, which is a must for people who are traveling, maintain the social distancing and skip a seat, and they have the passenger list that they can go by if someone comes down with disease."
However, there are some holes in the study. It did not examine the risk of spreading the virus spreading when eating or talking. It also did not look at risks involved in getting to the airport and waiting to board a plane.