According to a new study, the risk of catching COVID-19 while flying is extremely low because all passengers are tested negative for the virus 72 hours before take-off. The Mayo Clinic and the Georgia Department of Health conducted this study, which used flight data from Delta Air Lines as its source. It evaluated the consumer data on Delta flight routes with COVID testing connecting John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, and Fiumicino International Airport in Italy.
There were only five passengers who tested positive for COVID-19 out of almost 10,000 who had tested negative 72 hours before travelling from the United States to Italy, according to the peer-reviewed research. With an infection incidence of only 0.05 per cent, travellers flying internationally from December 2020 to May 2021 were considerably safer than the 1.1 per cent community transmission rate.
“This is the first comprehensive investigation.” Dr. Henry Ting, Delta’s chief health officer, stated in an article, “This is not a theory, math, or physics. During the height of the third COVID-19 rush, these are actual travellers who travelled from the United States to Italy. The study gave stern proof that everyday activities like going to the grocery store, church, or a restaurant have higher infection risk than flying.”
Observations Based On Data
Delta’s trans-Atlantic COVID-19 testing programme started in December 2020. This lets quarantine-free entrance for travellers into Italy. This initiative, according to Delta, enables teams to examine and simulate alternative testing techniques for practicality, false-positive rates, and detection rates of cases. The research started taking this initiative into the radar.
Passengers who tested positive for both the quick antigen and the confirmatory molecular tests were deemed genuine positives and were denied boarding. This implies that there were no false-positive results from fast antigen testing.
Because of the extremely low infection rate on board a COVID-19-tested flight, as well as additional layers of protection on board like mandatory masking and hospital-grade air filtration, Dr. Ting estimates that the risk of transmission is less than 1 in a million between the United States and the U.K. He believes that as vaccination rates are rising, the number of new cases is declining.
Use Of The Proof
The risk of getting COVID-19 while flying varies based on various factors. The number of cases and vaccination rates at both the origin and destination, as well the preventive measures like sanitization and masks on the plane and in the airport, contributes to the risk rate of the infection. This study’s findings suggest that frequent use of a single molecular test within 72 hours before foreign travel can reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission via air travel, according to Dr. Ting.
Dr. Ting predicted they would have to deal with COVID-19 variations for some time. Real-world data, rather than simulation models, is what governments worldwide may use as a guideline for mandating vaccines and testing instead of quarantines to reopen international borders to travel.
Covid-19 Air Travel Update
The study’s release coincides with the tourism industry’s call for the Biden administration to relax a restriction placed on all but essential travel from Europe during the early stages of the pandemic. Officials at the White House have stated that they are working on a strategy to restore foreign travel, but nothing has come.
Ting has shared the information with the White House and the National Security Council and received a positive reaction.
Following an increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the highly transmissible delta variant in European nations, restrictions on U.S. tourists were increased. Passengers from the United States will be required to provide proof of vaccination in Spain, Denmark, and Belgium. At the same time, travellers from the United States will be denied entry into Sweden and Norway in the majority of instances, regardless of vaccination status.
The number of people flying domestically increased this summer, but concerns over the delta variant have prompted a decline in flight reservations. According to industry trade organization Airlines for America, international aviation travel is still 55 per cent below 2019 levels because of ongoing restrictions.
To tackle the virus, airlines have implemented tougher regulations. A health care fee of $200 was implemented by Delta Air Lines last month for employees who had not received the requisite vaccinations. United Airlines mandated that the vaccine be administered to all of its workers.