Researchers from Harvard University assure that traveling by plane is less risky, in terms of Covid-19 infections, than going to the supermarket, due to the use of HEPA filters in the cabin and the use of face masks by passengers and crew.
The analyzes reported that air ventilation onboard aircraft reduces the possibility of exposure to COVID-19, making the infection rate much lower than, for example, in a supermarket or in a closed restaurant.
Ventilation systems “effectively counteract the proximity of travelers during flights,” the researchers noted, pointing out that HEPA filters and frequent air changes in the cabin remove up to 99% of particles, including viruses and bacteria.
The research concludes that the risk of contracting Covid-19 in flight is very low, mainly due to the layered approach that airlines have adopted. That is the use of a mask for all passengers and crew, proper cleaning of aircraft, social distancing, and effective detection procedures.
Therefore, the researchers propose that airlines focus on three key points: ventilation, cleanliness, and social distancing to keep Covid-19 at bay.
As for social distancing, the report reveals that it is possibly the most difficult task of all. Airlines can make deliberate decisions about flight loads and passenger distribution throughout the cabin. However, anyone who has been through an airport lately knows that controlling people who crowd at the gates and around the lobbies is a more difficult task.
Harvard researchers say passengers must play an important role here. In addition to wearing masks in airport terminals and on flights, passengers must comply with the rules to preserve their health.
In fact, the authors of the article suggest that passengers who do not follow the rules be put on a no-fly list and banned from traveling.