A new Department of Defense or DOD study says that you should feel better about traveling by air than what you may think. According to the results of a recent study done, the risk of catching a virus that causes COVID-19 through the air aboard a crowded commercial airplane from an infected passenger who is wearing a mask is quite low—as long as you wear a mask yourself.
Jolene Bowen, an infection preventionist for OSF HealthCare says the study used mannequins that don’t represent the way most people behave, however, Bowen believes the study was rigorous and backs up what airlines have been saying—airplanes are well-ventilated spaces.
Bowen says that filters like that eliminate 99% of virus particles. High-frequency air circulation systems helped dilute tracer particles on large Boeing planes that were used for the study.
All airlines now require masks on board and many airlines are doing back-to-front boarding now to minimize crowding the aisles and imposing capacity limits. Bowen says it’s important to avoid moving through the aircraft during the flight and pay attention to what your seatmate is doing.
Bowen says if you do travel to areas of higher risk, stay home if possible after returning and monitor your health for 14 days to protect yourself and others. Bowen went on to say that maybe scheduling a more unconventional day for your holiday celebrations so you aren’t traveling when everyone else does.
You can visit the CDC website for more holiday travel ideas and recommendations.