Report: Flying is safer than grocery shopping or eating out

Ventilation on aircraft reduces the possibility of exposure to COVID-19, study finds. Over 99% of the particles containing the virus are removed from cabin air within minutes.

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National News

October 28, 2020 - 9:30 AM

The airline industry, for one, is standing in line for government aid. Photo by (Mike Siegel/Seattle Times/TNS)

Flying ranks below grocery shopping and eating in a restaurant when it comes to the risk of contracting COVID-19 in a public place, a new study claims.

It’s all in the ventilation and the protocols, researchers at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found in their Phase One report, issued Tuesday and not yet peer-reviewed. This first installment covered travel solely on the aircraft, the researchers said; Phase Two, examining airport operations, will come out in two months.

“Analysis from the report shows that ventilation of air on aircraft reduces the possibility of exposure to COVID-19, lower than other common settings, such as a grocery store or indoor restaurant,” the team said in a statement. “This effectively counters the proximity travelers are subject to during flights. Because of the frequent exchange of air and HEPA filters on planes, over 99% of the particles containing the virus are removed from cabin air.”

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