Volume 9, Issue 2

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Page 16 | Abby's Magazine | Air Travel and Masks: Analysis By Dr. Joseph Mercola What You Need to Know What Risk Do Flights Pose? Do flights pose an infec on risk? Probably, yes, for the simple fact that you're in a confined space with many individuals. At least two studies published in November 2020 have confirmed that infec on can and does take place during flights. Unfortunately, both looked at flights that took place in early March 2020, and neither specify whether passengers were wearing masks or not. Proximity to an infected person appears to be the key finding in these studies, which suggests that spacing out passengers and not filling flights to capacity is the right thing to do to limit transmission. That said, experts who have looked at available flight data say your risk of catching COVID-19 during a flight is s ll pre y slim. According to an August 20, 2020, report by CNN: "If new scien fic claims are borne out, the perceived heightened risk of boarding an airplane could be unfounded. In one case, about 328 passengers and crewmembers were tested for coronavirus a er it was learned that a March 31, 2020 flight from the US to Taiwan had been carrying 12 passengers who were symptoma c at the me. However, all the other passengers tested nega ve, as did the crewmembers. And while there have certainly been cases of infected passengers passing the virus on to an airplane's crew or fellow travelers in recent months, the transmission rates are low … A flight from the UK to Vietnam on March 2, 2020 in which one passenger seemingly spread the virus to around 14 other passengers, as well as a crewmember, is so far believed to be the only known on-board transmission to mul ple people. One explana on for the apparently low risk level is that the air in modern aircra cabins is replaced with new fresh air every two to three minutes, and most planes are fi ed with air filters designed to trap 99.99% of par cles. Arnold Barne , a professor of sta s cs at the Massachuse s Ins tute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, tried to quan fy the odds of becoming infected with the virus while on board a short flight in a recent study that looked at the benefits of the empty middle seat policy. According to his findings, based on short haul flights in the US on aircra configured with three seats on either side of the aisle … the risk of catching the virus on a full flight is just 1 in 4,300. Those odds fall to 1 in 7,700 if the middle seat is vacant." "Three things have to go wrong for you to get infected (on a flight). There has to be a COVID-19 pa ent on board and they have to be contagious. If there is such a person on your flight, assuming they are wearing a mask, it has to fail to prevent the transmission. They also have to be close enough …" To Pose a Risk, You Need To Be Symptomatic Studies have repeatedly shown that masks do not significantly reduce transmission of viruses, so it's safe to assume that a mask will in fact fail in this regard. That leaves two key factors: There must be a contagious person onboard, and they must be sufficiently close for transmission to occur. We now know that asymptoma c individuals — even if they test posi ve using a PCR test — are highly unlikely to be contagious. So, really, a key preven on strategy for COVID-19 seems to be to stay home if you have symptoms. What Does the Science Say About Masks? If you're s ll on the fence about whether masks are a necessity that must be forced on everyone, including young children, I urge you to take the me to actually read through some of the studies that have been published. As noted by Denis Rancourt, Ph.D., a former full professor of physics and researcher with the Ontario Civil Liber es Associa on in Canada, all of the well-designed studies that have been published so far have failed to find a sta s cally significant advantage to wearing a mask versus not wearing one. Statistics Show Mask Use Have No Impact on Infection Rates Another way to shed light on whether masks work or not is to compare infec on rates (read: posi ve test rates) before and a er the implementa on of universal mask mandates. In his ar cle, "These 12 Graphs Show Mask Mandates Do Nothing to Stop COVID," Yinon Weiss does just that.

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