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CDC study finds airlines should leave their middle seats empty to reduce COVID spread – CBS New York


LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Commercial airlines leaving mid-seats on flights can significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission, according to a new study published Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Research, by CDC and Kansas State University, found that the spread of COVID-19 was reduced from 23% to 57% – depending on the model and arrangement of the cabin – when airlines left the middle seat empty compared to when they were operating at full capacity. .

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FILE – Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport on 4 February 2021. (Getty Images)

At the beginning of the pandemic, a number of US airlines implemented blocking the middle seats. However, Delta is the only one still doing so and will conclude on April 30.

Researchers have conducted laboratory experiments using antibacterial sprays to replace pathogenic viruses such as COVID-19. The aerosols are scattered in a model of aircraft cabins with people posing as passengers.

The results show that “increasing the physical distance between passengers and reducing passenger density can help reduce potential COVID-19 exposure during plane travel,” the study authors. determined rescue. “The physical distance of passengers on board, including through policies such as leaving the middle seat empty, can further reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure.”

The study did not consider masks, which are required on all flights. It is not clear whether the findings affect the CDC’s travel guide.

Passenger Christopher Martinez told CBSLA on Wednesday: “The flight is pretty crowded, but I still feel pretty confident that everyone has been vaccinated.

Passenger Dave True says there is a risk of exposure no matter how careful you are.

“Before we got on the plane, everyone stood close together,” True said. “And since we are all walking so close by everyone, will you catch it in these five minutes or the next five?”

Currently, all domestic passengers are advised to undergo the COVID-19 test both before and after traveling unless they have been fully vaccinated. Last week, Los Angeles County health officials updated the county’s travel advice to say Fully vaccinated people can travel without testing or quarantine.

All international visitors to the United States are required to present proof of a negative coronavirus test no more than three days before boarding, regardless of whether or not they have been fully vaccinated.

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