It seems like the pretty hefty measures that airlines have been taking throughout the pandemic to render travel as safe as possible are actually paying off. In fact, according to a new study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, flying today might prove to be a safer bet than going grocery shopping.
The Aviation Public Health Initiative (APHI)—which delves into the impact that airport and airline-related practices have had on public health during the pandemic—will be split into various phases. The results of phase one, which focuses on the gate-to-gate experience, have just been released.
According to the first portion of the study, universal mask-related guidelines, social distancing measures, health screenings, deep disinfection processes and much talked-about new ventilation systems (you've heard of HEPA filters, right?) are actually working when it comes to travel-related efforts.
"Through a layered approach to risk mitigation, the scientific evidence shows a low risk of SARS-COV-2 transmission on aircraft," reads an official press release announcing the findings of the study. "The report provides evidence that it is possible to leverage technology and modify behavior to allow some near-normal activity while reducing the risks of disease transmission during the COVID-19 crisis."
More specifically, the researchers have found that the new high-tech aircraft ventilation systems reduce the possibility of a passenger's exposure to the virus, even rendering those chances "lower than [at] other common settings, such as a grocery store or indoor restaurant."
Of course, the scientists advise us to remain vigilant and to continue to abide by mask-wearing, hand-washing and social distancing mandates.
The second part of the study, which hasn't been released yet, will focus on curb-to-curb airport environment, specifically delving into testing measures and the indoor air environment at various airports.
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