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Risk of contracting virus on airplanes - perspective

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Risk of contracting virus on airplanes - perspective

Old 13th Sep 2020, 07:14
  #81 (permalink)  
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sorry but this study is garbage. Retrospective interviews as their methodology. Not one diagram of seat proximity to the suspected spreader?
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Old 13th Sep 2020, 07:44
  #82 (permalink)  
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You might like this one better.

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Old 13th Sep 2020, 16:49
  #83 (permalink)  
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What’s your point? If actual spread on flights was the issue, thousands of air crew worldwide would have contracted the disease. This hasn’t happened.
The model going forward has to be getting the industry going again and having passengers return. A vaccine is a huge piece of this picture but not the only factor. Airlines and airport authorities have and are rapidly changing hygiene and risk factors. Rapid Testing technology is absolutely required, even with a vaccine. Far UVC light that kills virus on contact but does not harm humans will revolutionize our public spaces. Think hospitals, schools, theatres, airports, airplanes.
Aviation is on its knees. The global economy is dependent on it. Do you find really intelligent solutions to bring it back or keep digging up fairly dubious and pointless studies to prove a point that isn’t really relevant now anyway?
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Old 13th Sep 2020, 19:07
  #84 (permalink)  
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No argument with any of this, except maybe the far UV, that stuff is not harmless. Fact though is there is no vaccine, there is not even a decent Covid test, so who would allow free as before aviation travel?
A reality check would be New Zealand, tourism is a big part of their economy but is currently dead in the water due to immigration restrictions. Once NZ has enough confidence to allow free air travel, the airlines can adjust. But until then, I think there will be much suffering.
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Old 13th Sep 2020, 19:16
  #85 (permalink)  
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Confidence interval

The statistics of infection as presented above are perhaps a convincing argument. But at least 50% of potential passengers have lost overall confidence in the entire supply chain. Trains, airports, aircraft, hotels, cruise ships......air BNB etc. It will be years before these people need to travel again as they did in 2019, and it will be a very gradual return to those numbers. People that I have straw polled say they can do without the hassle and stress. I used to take around 120 flights each year, mainly business. Do I miss it? A bit, but not so much at 4am on a Monday morning when I should be getting in the car.
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Old 13th Sep 2020, 23:01
  #86 (permalink)  
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far UVC is harmless and in development well before COVID. Adoption will be accelerated by the pandemic
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Old 14th Sep 2020, 00:10
  #87 (permalink)  
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I agree that testing has shown that far UVC poses little, if any, risk to humans. Which means it is likely to make a big difference in sanitization of surfaces in any given environment. That will, in turn, likely reduce the numbers of COVID-19 infections from that type of exposure.
But there's the rub... As we gather more information about COVID's most common (preferred) methods of transmission, it is now clear that COVID "spreads from person to person, most commonly through respiratory droplets (e.g., generated by coughing, sneezing, laughing, singing, shouting or talking) during close interactions (i.e., within 2 metres)". Therefore, though far UVC wil provide some mitigation it will not directly address the direct transmission of the disease from one individual to another.

Add in the fact that people "who have COVID-19 may have few to no symptoms, or symptoms may be mild" and one realizes that (until an effective vaccine is available and widely used), the attitudes and actions of individuals -- and corporations such as airlines -- will do more to limit the spread than any other element.

Note: The phrases in quotation marks are from the latest information on the official government of Canada COVID website.

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Old 14th Sep 2020, 06:32
  #88 (permalink)  
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Bindair Dundat

My point is, come up with a decent plan that acknowledges the problem and offers a solution that mitigates the risk.

Be it engineering or procedural or both.

Maybe study the schematic of how your ventilation actually works. That might answer your "thousands of aircrew" comment. Seriously?

Get schooled up on what the science says about the problem. I bought three published, peer reviewed scientific papers to the discussion.

You brought what? Statements that can be proven wrong by anyone with 10 seconds to spare and internet access.

Maybe learn what retrospective means in the scientific/ medical context.

You will have to do better than that to convince the travelling public and in many cases legislators and regulators.

I'm with you - air travel has to get back to normal.

But your standard of reasoning is going to have to go up a couple of notches to be even remotely convincing.
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Old 14th Sep 2020, 14:05
  #89 (permalink)  
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I have a feeling that some of you never heard of viruses and immune system before сovid panic. All your mitigation techniques and cabin sterilization is nothing but a panic farce that will do no good, in fact it already done so much damage that it will take decades to recover.

Just look at 9/11 aftermath and how they build security industry that is merely a preflight show to convince dump people that by confiscating their water and hair pins they will enter the holy ground of absolute safety.

I have a premonition that we entered a decade of kneeling before a herd of uneducated and scared humanoids that don't even know they are mortal. I suggest that before letting someone post anything on the web e.g. -"protect the loved ones" or "save the children" one should complete basic anatomy course.
I lost my job because some of you couldn't get rid of dumb animal instincts. Thank you.
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Old 14th Sep 2020, 16:55
  #90 (permalink)  
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i thought you weren’t offering opinions? You throw up three ‘peer reviewed’ studies that aren’t particularly compelling and then offer this gem “.....come up with a decent plan.” But you never offered any.
The cat is out of the bag. We are here now. Your studies offer no solutions for going forward. At least I was able to offer new technology and changing the perception of risk during travel. That’s the actual goal. Did all the measures after 9/11 ensure the public was or is 💯
safe from terrorism. No. It did allow a measure of confidence though. Enough that the public eventually reverted back to air travel. This is much much bigger problem but the same principle. It’s a confidence game and a time to reshape the industry. If I was writing the cheque’s now, my money would be in on how do we prevent air travel getting into this conundrum in another pandemic situation. That’s the truly relevant t question here. I don’t need to get ‘schooled up’ I’ve read the studies and then some. They are a data point that’s it. They are not the solution.
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Old 14th Sep 2020, 23:44
  #91 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by inOban View Post
The excellent German contact tracing system has also failed to find any case where Covid19 was contracted on a train.
Not sure what the train ocupancy rates are in Germany but if similar to the UK that's not surprising, almost nobody is using them.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 14:02
  #92 (permalink)  
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Bindair Dundat

Interesting, how Boeing must wish the World had done it your way over MAX and MCAS. Read the accident reports, decide there is no solution in there, and that the solution is to adjust the perception of risk instead. Merely tell the travelling pax, bit of marketing and PR, "these are not the plane crashes you are looking for" and everything will be fine. I am in awe.


In UK that is in part because they have capacity severely restricted (far more than just "no middle seat") and (possibly related) because ticket prices are now through the roof, anecdotally at least. Various in my family have in recent weeks tried to get tickets to various places without success due to ridiculous prices. We are talking 250 each way cheapest ticket for both mainline and cross country destinations, not London, and willing to book in advance, specific train, and willing to travel any time of day. I never believed Corbyn when he said nationalisation would make trains cheaper, but this is 2-300% increase at least. For one trip you could have hired a decent car, fueled it, and paid for a decent hotel for the same price as going there and back by train (what happened, in fact, was that the trips didn't happen).
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Old 16th Sep 2020, 11:13
  #93 (permalink)  
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Bindair Dundat

THAT is at the very core of this entire problem.

Air travel is the safest form of travel. For both infection and accident safety.

The problem is that it helps to spread infection with people travelling from one place to another and hence pass it on.

That is the problem that we now have. Some countries have infection rates that are hugely out of control. Other countries who are struggling to keep theirs under control are justifiably reluctant to risk adding to their problems by letting people from high-infection countries arrive freely. Hence the quarantine restrictions. The actual air travel itself is not a problem, the problem is who you are allowing to travel from A to B and possibly transmit infection from A to B.

Don't blame any of you local politicians for how they are dealing with this problem that is unlike any that has had to be dealt with for nearly a century (and even then, the 'problem' was very different as there was nowhere near the levels of mass transport that is available now). They have not caused this problem. By the time any of them were made aware of it, it was already well entrenched in our societies. The entire blame lies with Winnie the Pooh and his CCP and their utterly incompetent face saving attempts to hide this from the world until it was far, far, far, far too late.

The best way for us to get back to any sort of normal is for individuals to act sensibly and responsibly to eliminate this pest. (Don't suggest heavy-handed methods as the two countries on the south west of Europe that dealt with the first wave almost tyrannically now have second waves that make the first one look small.)

The problems with air travel are not onboard the aeroplane. The problems are with who is being taken where. And the sooner people can behave and help control this the better.
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Old 17th Sep 2020, 23:20
  #94 (permalink)  
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Nice headline.

Coughing Dummies Help Boeing and United Track Viruses on Planes Justin Bachman 1 day ago (Bloomberg) -- For the past four months, United Airlines Holdings Inc. and Boeing Co. have been flying around jetliners loaded with mannequins, aerosol sprays, sensors and scientists in an effort to understand how contaminated air moves through passenger planes.

The research is just one small part of a sweeping global campaign to figure out the threats posed by the coronavirus. But for the airline industry, the results could help determine how quickly carriers bounce back from the edge of disaster after the pandemic made people afraid to get on a plane. U.S. demand for flights remains at less than a third of 2019 levels, based on airport security screening data.

The U.S. military initiated the $1 million study when the spread of Covid-19 raised concerns about infection risks for troops transported on passenger jets. Companies including United, Boeing and Zeteo Tech LLC, a Maryland-based biodefense and medical device maker, are contributing equipment and expertise.

If the findings can show how likely it is for a passenger to be infected by breathing the air on a plane, “it’ll probably drive some policy decisions,” said Mike McLoughlin, Zeteo’s vice president of research.Reassuring Flyers Airlines have sought to reassure the public that flying is safe by implementing an array of onboard cleaning and disinfecting procedures, requiring face masks in the cabin and improving ventilation and filtration systems. But they haven’t been able to show what, precisely, are the chances of infection if that person sitting next to you or across the aisle breaks out into a virus-laden cough.

To collect the data, researchers placed mannequins with human-like heads in various seats throughout seven models of Boeing and Airbus SE jets, then made them cough. Or rather, they simulated a human cough, and how aerosolized particles are expelled and disseminated through the air on the plane, McLoughlin said.

Aerosol particles will behave differently under different cabin scenarios, said Byron Jones, an engineering professor at Kansas State University who studies airline cabin air and was not involved in the project. Gas and particles in a cabin become “a witches’ cauldron,” he said, based on air flows, particulate sizes and other factors. “It just swirls and churns and twists. It’s very chaotic,” he said. But that churning isn’t necessarily a bad thing: “That’s what you want to see in a general ventilation (system).”

Researchers evaluated how factors such as circulation, the exchange rate of cabin air, filtration and forward-facing seats affected the flow of aerosolized particles through the cabin, and who would be most exposed in their proximity to a cougher. Particle sizes and various locations throughout the cabin were considered. Tests were repeated with the dummies wearing disposable surgical masks. October Results The tests were conducted during 30 hours in flight and 24 hours on the ground from May 5 through August. Analysis of the data and peer reviews are expected to be completed this month with a final report issued in October.

Boeing declined to comment on the results they’ve seen so far. In a statement, the company said it’s approaching the question of virus spread “from an engineering perspective by conducting data-driven analysis studies, simulations, modeling and live testing, which will help us all better understand the transmission and risks of COVID-19.”

The project is funded and led in part by the U.S. Transportation Command, based at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, which buys airline seats and charter flights to transport U.S. troops and their families around the world. The Command sees the study as critical to safely mobilizing troops, said Lieutenant Colonel Ellis Gales Jr., a spokesman. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency helped connect the Transportation Command with United and Boeing.

If the analysis shows infection risks through the air can be controlled on a plane, the industry might be able to use those results to help persuade the public to start flying again even before a vaccination for Covid-19 might be widely available.

“Throughout the pandemic, our top priority has been the health and safety of our customers and crew,” Toby Enqvist, United’s chief customer officer, said in an email. Enqvist said he’s encouraged by the early results he’s seen, but did not provide specifics.

“Everybody is keen to get the results out as quickly as possible but we want to make sure that when we release those results we’re painting an accurate picture,” McLoughlin said.
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 06:41
  #95 (permalink)  
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NoelEvans has it right. The risk that would deter me from flying is not the possibility of infection in the aeroplane, but the risk of infection at my destination. I see today an article in the local comic about the difficulty or impossibility of getting travel insurance: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/ne...ectid=12366143 Since no one with half a brain would travel to the USA without medical insurance, this means that, unfortunately, international air travel is going to suffer for a significant time ahead, whatever governments do, however brave travellers get, or whatever coughing dummies reveal (at least they're not using beagles).

The pandemic is the problem, not attitudes or reactions to it; unfortunately, the economic damage falls very unevenly, and there is a responsibility to share the burden. But some things are just not going to go back to the way they were.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 05:24
  #96 (permalink)  
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I ride the subway every workday from Manhattan to JFK. I am subject to multiple customer exposures/day who come from/fly to destinations all over the world. I wear a mask and wash my hands. So far no COVID for me after 4 tests. I think if you are healthy with no pre-existing conditions flying is safe enough. People are, in general, much more careful about COVID prevention at the airport and on board aircraft, than in their day to day lives. I think the biggest problem to int'l airlines is the situation of extensive border closures. Many Americans can't travel overseas even if they wanted to, as is the case for many other nationalities.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 10:19
  #97 (permalink)  
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 11:37
  #98 (permalink)  
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It's a long read but here is the conclusion:

We conclude that the risk for on-board transmission of SARS-CoV-2 during long flights is real and has the potential to cause COVID-19 clusters of substantial size, even in business class–like settings with spacious seating arrangements well beyond the established distance used to define close contact on airplanes. As long as COVID-19 presents a global pandemic threat in the absence of a good point-of-care test, better on-board infection prevention measures and arrival screening procedures are needed to make flying safe.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 14:29
  #99 (permalink)  
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Thanks, this is the paper referred to in various news articles this morning that I was struggling to find a link to.

In summary:

Paper looks pretty thorough, on first read through and on the investigation details provided I'd say the conclusions are supported. The figures that result are not pleasant: 92% attack rate (11/12) for those sat within 2m, much lower attack rate outside of that zone (interestingly, actually gives some backing to the choice of 2m distance), cabin crew also infected. The low numbers are because this was business class, in economy I think you might be looking at three times that number within 2m, with current UK prevalence estimates at 1 in 900 (ONS survey) I think that works out around 4-5% chance of catching it per flight. For those like me who are highest covid risk category, that's 4-5% chance of ending up in hospital. Per flight. Personally I still think the greater risk is queues at the airport, but this has knocked that theory a bit.

Confirms my feeling that I won't be flying anywhere any time soon, but regardless of that I can't see that kind of risk being insurable once the actuaries get hold of it. My travel insurance refused renewal this year, and all the providers I have previously used to cover my pre-existing conditions appear to not offer covid cover (I don't think this is a coincidence), so I'm not going anywhere anyway, but it'll be interesting to see if in future I can get cover for travel but not to cover flying. This isn't looking good for aviation.

1. this was before the time of mask wearing on planes (still the risk from those who don't / won't or think we are still before the time of mask wearing)
2. quite possibly not everyone is this infectious - it's becoming clear there are super-spreading types of events / scenarios / locations, but there may also be super-spreading types of people, this is unknown
3. this was long haul, 10 hrs, short haul risk may be different, it seems clear that risk is related to exposure time, but whether it's linear or not is also unknown
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Old 22nd Sep 2020, 01:42
  #100 (permalink)  
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Coronavirus: How one passenger infected 15 others on a long-haul flight
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