Risk of COVID-19 transmission ‘virtually non-existent’ on flights: Airline executive

A new study shows how air particles move through an airplane and what safety precautions to take while onboard.
7:15 | 10/15/20

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Transcript for Risk of COVID-19 transmission ‘virtually non-existent’ on flights: Airline executive
And a new landmark study is out today about Cole made an air travel as we approach the holiday travel season how risky is it to fly on a crowded plane during this pandemic. Transportation correspondent GO but he tennis has more. This morning with a mannequin on board were getting a look. Can't help particles may move through an airport. The Department of Defense working with the United Airlines conducting 300 tests over six months the mannequin reproducing breathing and coughing with and without a mask when the dummy wore a mask the results were encouraging and though they haven't been peer review the risk of transmission. Is virtually nonexistent. Virtually nonexistent and again this is this is this is it's a US military study. Here's how the test worked the mannequin was equipped with an aerosol generator technicians would have agreed and cough with a mask on and off. Using more than forty sensors throughout the plane to detect the spread of droplets the researchers found that with a mask on only zero point 003%. Of particles actually made their way into another passengers breeding he's. But the team didn't attempt to replicate what might happen when the infected person stands up or moves through the cabinet. I'll let senator Tom people that I know exactly what they should do. But what I am telling people is if you are inclined to travel or thinking about air trial. There is a reason today he's in this independent study that you can deal with the could safely and. This study also reflected similar earlier studies that found the plane's unique air flow helps minimize risk on a plane air flows down from above each seat not front to back this helps limit person a person air flow had to filter eliminating 99 point 99% of airborne particles including viruses every two to three minutes. It's just last week the International Air Transport Association released new research saying the risk of contracting the virus on a plane appears to be in the same category as being struck by lightning among one point two billion travelers they found just 44 publish cases of potential in flight transmission mostly in the early days of the pandemic when masks weren't required. The study is conforming that you know among all the different places where. One can get infected and flights might actually be honest safest places to be. But remember flying involves more than a Plame as more people start traveling for the holidays airports will also get busier so experts remind us it's critical to Wear that mask as you walk into the airport go through security board that airplane sit through the flight. And land at your destination. Now there are some cabbie also the study they only use one kind of nasty surgical one. And they simulated just one sick passenger on a completely full plane but clearly this was an extensive study and it gives us a real clue tonight. All right you Benitez from LaGuardia Airport GO always good to know these things and for more on this study and traveling safety during this pandemic. Infectious disease after Todd Halloran joins us now doctor Allan thank you for being here. During her. So you like so many in this hits home for me know so many of us have family overseas that we haven't seen in months because of its pandemic already not a holidays are coming you have to wonder you know is it safe for you have to forego those gatherings. What's your take away. From this study in terms of the safety of traveling to get there. I do think that studies very encouraging Diana mean the bottom line is when you think of when we talk of all people placed time and space. One would. Being big airplane would be very unsafe price is indoors there's lots of people during closed parks that means spent a lot of time on the plane. I think what we're seeing. He's got paid everyone's masks. What what's a very unique boat flying is. Circulation the ventilation on the plane is really optimal so what you think about a normal room you can have. Fortis sixth air exchanges per hour that's considered excellent. Under playing gears are exchanged every six minutes that's ten times. Or it. In our ten times already airs exchange also Uga gear coming down. Home we're just going to dilute any infectious particles and as you heard GO stable floor you have those half of helpers those kids. Overall those viral particles are you really have a very safe. -- now with what the study showed as a matter is there if you're masked. When you haven't eased. I'm nick chickens we aerosol generators these particles only 300. Thousand particles are getting into the airspace of the person seated next you. Or in on the bridge or in the Galley so all of those things are very encouraging. The the risk is low but I do want to point don't remember it's not zero but overall when you think about eating or transmission it need either claims of some of the safest places you can date. But I noticed the stresses on if your mask if your master what if you have the random person on the plane that. Doesn't Wear their mass for doesn't work properly or we all usually eat at some point during the flight how risky it is it is it if you're in in an environment. Where you know you're going to need for example you have to take your mascot for a little while you don't want to trust and everyone else around used and where there's properly. What an important point human behavior and a human behavior can protect us. And human behavior as we're seeing across the country she can harm us as well so you know if you're sitting next to someone who has. Highly infectious virus they take your math score you can take off your maps pennant and it's a different story. And the other part of it as you pointed out eight and being on the plane that's certainly the part we think about we stink about the risk of air travel but that's only one part of the process you have to get to the airport you might have to wait in line at the airport. He might have to wait in line to board and so on so how concerned should we be about those parts of the process. I. Think it all comes down to individual risk and I think it is important. When you think about the elderly or people with chronic conditions. You really don't think twice these days are traveling not specifically. About being on the plane or remember the more mobility. Mobility is directly proportional to viral transmission we CNET in many studies so. You know I RI and I still think that people who are more vulnerable. To think twice about traveling didn't need any in any way shape or form. And in terms of people who do decide that in for one reason or another that they do either need to travel for the holiday season. Or and they decide that the risk is worth it what can they do to mitigate that. Instead seeing Colin nineteen infection prevention bundle that we've heard before. The but why shouldn't the distancing. The mask and avoiding crowds spending as much time outdoors if you're indoors opened the windows try to optimize them and Malaysian. You know. I think we know we know this bundle but sometimes it's easier said than done. Especially with the weather getting called a doctor are we appreciate your time this morning as always thank you. Figured and.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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