covid on airplanes

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

now you're just lying. this is journalistic malpractice.

el gato malo

holy sensationalism batman!

this headline sure sounds scary!

but it’s not. even if it were true, it would not be scary. but it’s not true. it’s just hysterical handwaving from a zero data assumptive premise that violates all sound base priors.

let’s look:

surely a claim this dramatic will have some sort of back, right? wrong.

it’s entirely assumptive and has ZERO data backing it.

i mean, did anyone even read past the headline?

it’s all quotes from one guy, the former chief medical officer at air new zealand. (come for the hobbits, stay because we put you in mandatory quarantine!) listen to how absurd this is:

Aircraft passengers are twice or even three times more likely to catch Covid-19 during a flight since the emergence of the omicron variant, according to the top medical adviser to the world’s airlines.

oh, really?

here is the entire basis for these claims:

“we would have to assume…”

um, no, we wouldn’t. this is entirely, totally wrong.

first off, airplanes do not spread covid. i am not aware of any superspread or contagion events thereon in this entire pandemic, and had there been some, can anyone doubt they’d have been front page news?

this is because airplanes have, wait for it, incredible air handling and filtration. it’s why they never spread flu or colds or RSV either. they are probably the safest place you could be. their air handling is better than a surgical theater. (yes, really)

A new study conducted for the Department of Defense adds credence to the growing belief that airline passengers face minimal risk of contracting coronavirus when flying. The study found the risk of aerosol dispersion – transmission of the virus through the air – was reduced 99.7% thanks to high air exchange rates, HEPA-filtered recirculation and downward ventilation found on modern jets.

On most planes, the air exchange rate is approximately every three minutes and 75% comes from outside the plane, meaning that only 25% of cabin air is recirculated. "The 767 and 777 both removed particulate 15 times faster than a home ... and five to six times faster than recommended design specifications for modern hospital operating or patient isolation rooms," the study continued.

and that renders this claim by the air new zealand panic patrol hilariously wrong.

Business class may be safer than more densely packed economy cabins, said David Powell, physician and medical adviser to the International Air Transport Association, which represents almost 300 carriers worldwide.

this is flat out ridiculous. it’s a 100-2000nm aerosol virion. and extra 18 inches of space means NOTHING. literally, nothing. he’s pimping you to upgrade.

this is in microns. so we’re in the 0.1-0.2 range for covid. see the time to drop in still air? that’s over 2 weeks, possibly over a month.

distancing is an entirely made up notion. but the air circulation clearly DOES work.

this is absurdist corona cosplay and makework:

and even the bloomberg cabin karen admits that rates are extremely low:

Should cabin crew wear full protective clothing, such as body suits and face shields?

Probably not. There hasn’t been a lot of passenger-to-crew transmission throughout Covid. There has been some, but it’s very, very small numbers. It’s tended to be passenger-to-passenger or crew-to-crew. And again, very small numbers of crew-to-passenger. Let’s just be stringent about the measures already in place, and wait until we have a bit more data on omicron.

this has zero to do with masks (which clearly never worked a fact well documented past and present) or distancing or variants. it’s air handling. and omicron is not air handling evading. it’s the same exact particle from an aerosol physics standpoint.

remember how the more contagious delta variant led to more outbreaks on planes? yeah, me either.

this is just more clickbait fearporn.

remember the folks that pushed this at and on you when deciding who to trust in the future.

(readers may note that there is no link to the bloomberg article. this is deliberate. i do not want to drive traffic to this sort of stunt as “rage and fear clicks” drive advertising revenue and thus, encourage more enraging and panic pushing articles from them. clicking on things is a signal to the publisher to produce more of the same. this seems undesirable.)

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