Prepared for Onikepe | Delivered April 23, 2020
COVID-19 - AVIATION INDUSTRY
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To determine the rate of infection and mortality rate among pilots, crews, and travelers, in order to have data to write an article about pilots as the canary in the coal mine for COVID-19.
Risk of Infection
Air India pilots are considered
at risk of infection
. According to a number of pilots, PPE provided is inadequate and there have been cases when quarantine has been violated, with possibly infected crew continuing to work.
does not spread faster
in airplanes compared to elsewhere. Air is passed through a hospital-grade filtering system, meaning the risk of spread is no higher. The main concern comes to touching frequently touched areas.
increased cleaning procedures
. Airlines such as JetBlue and Delta are deep-cleaning their planes more thoroughly, which will help reduce spread.
Despite coming in contact with passengers who have tested positive for COVID-19, a number of flight attendants and pilots are
being told to continue to fly
unless displaying symptoms. SouthWest Airlines, American Airlines and Delta employees have all reported such policies.
In a study of a flight with 325 passengers and crew members, it appeared there was one carrier traveling from Wuhan who brought COVID-19 onto the flight. A
further eleven passengers tested positive
after the flight, but none needed intensive care units. None of the crew were infected.
In Canada, as of April 2,
at least 14 flight attendants
have tested positive for COVID-19.
Estimates suggest that there could be
at least 1000 employees
of Air Canada who have needed to be quarantined, as of March 31.
As of March 31, WestJet has stated that
seven of its employees
have been infected with COVID-19. At Air Transat, over 200 employees are in quarantine and two pilots and five flight attendants have reported testing positive.
Hundreds of flight attendants and pilots
have fallen ill and as of April 12, at least five have died from COVID-19.
A crew member with a disease has the
probability of infecting 4.6 passengers
, according to a study on disease transmission on airplanes.
Drivers and transport workers
account for 18% of work-related COVID-19 cases. In 47.7% of early cases, transmission is most likely work-related.
A flight attendant
infected more than 100 people
in Singapore with SARS, considered a super-spreading event.
Studies on flights carrying patients with SARS estimate
illness spread to 18 more passengers
out of a plane carrying 120 people. However, on other flights with passengers with symptomatic and
SARS, one or no other passengers were infected.