Yes, you can be exposed to the coronavirus on flights. But does that mean you catch the virus?
The CDC has a new study about how the novel coronavirus can impact your flight.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified about 11,000 people who were exposed to the novel coronavirus on airplane flights.
The CDC investigated 1,600 cases of people who flew while at risk of spreading the virus, according to The Washington Post.
However: It’s important to remember that the CDC can not confirm how many people became infected on the flight due to “incomplete contact tracing information” since the virus “ incubates over several days,” according to The Washington Post.
Caitlin Shockey, a spokeswoman for the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, told The Washington Post that the new data doesn’t mean cases haven’t spread on flights — nor does it mean cases do spread on flights.
- “An absence of cases identified or reported is not evidence that there were no cases. CDC is not able to definitively determine that potential cases were associated (or not) with exposure in the air cabin or through air travel given the numerous opportunities for potential exposure associated with the entire travel journey and widespread global distribution of the virus.”
More research on air travel
Of course, air travel remains a big part of American life. And airline companies have worked hard to keep people safe on flights — adding new face mask policies and social distancing measures
But there has been some research to suggest people can catch the coronavirus on longer, international flights, according to Forbes.
- “Although the international flight industry has judged the risk for in-flight transmission to be very low, long flights in particular have become a matter of increasing concern as many countries have started lifting flight restrictions despite ongoing SARS-CoV-2 transmission,” researchers recently wrote in a study from Vietnam’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology,
The CDC’s best advice
The CDC says air travel can lead to infection and spreading of COVID-19.
- “Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”
- “You can get COVID-19 during your travels. You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread COVID-19 to others. You and your travel companions (including children) may spread COVID-19 to other people including your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus.”