At a parliamentary inquiry this week, the CEO of a major airline suggested that face masks are of little value to planes. This claim spread rapidly online.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gerry Kelly quotes the high-quality filtration system on board the plane as follows:mask In an air cabin environment, if anything, don’t add too much. “
But experts strongly oppose it. Here is the fact.
Claim: Advanced air filtration systems sufficiently reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, eliminating the need to wear masks on airplanes.
Fact: While it is true that the common air filtration and distribution systems used in modern aircraft are very effective in reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection among passengers, masks are used by air travelers. Add another layer of protection.
Kelly’s comment came on Wednesday Hearing In front of the Senate Trade Science and Transportation Commission. After returning from the hearing, Kelly tested positive for COVID-19, and a southwestern spokesman confirmed with AP on Friday.
Kelly commented on the mask in response to a question from Senator Roger Wicker, a Republican representative of Mississippi.
“99.97% of airborne pathogens have been captured,” Kelly said. High efficiency fine particle air filter, Or the HEPA filter on the plane, before suggesting that no mask is needed while traveling by plane.
“Yes, I think it’s very likely that the mask is in an air cabin environment and you don’t add too much,” Kelly said. “It’s very safe and of very high quality compared to other indoor environments.”
Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines, seems to have agreed, “I agree. Aircraft are the safest place you can.” He said that all aircraft in his company have the same HEPA filter.
Comments were quickly picked up in news media and blogs and spread on social media.
“Southwest Airlines and American Airlines CEOs said in Senate testimony today that airplane masks are of no use,” one tweet shared more than 3,500 times.
Both CEOs have made it clear that they support the current federal policy of requiring masks on flights. After returning from the hearing on Friday, Kelly tested positive for COVID-19, and a Southwest spokesman confirmed with AP.
Southwest Airlines provided AP with a message Kelly sent to employees, the CEO apologized for the “confusion” caused by the hearing, and Southwest Airlines “continues the current federal mask obligations at airports and planes. I support you. “
Kelly said the airline Recruitment Mask requirements for flights in May 2020 before the federal government demands, and employees and customers “feel it is an important layer of protection and I certainly agree with it.” He said the airline “will continue to rely on the advice of our medical professionals regarding the need for masks.”
Parker Said later upon Social media He “agrees with my fellow CEO that boarding a plane has proven to be a safe and healthy indoor environment,” he said in a hearing. Clearly, he said he upheld the Federal Mask’s order “end.”
According to Lindsey Marr, an aerosol scientist at Virginia Tech, HEPA filtration systems are very effective in reducing viral infections, but they do not completely eliminate in-flight risks.
“The problem is that it only works in the air when it passes through the filter,” she said in an email. “If you are sitting near someone who is releasing a large amount of virus into the atmosphere, you may inhale them before they pass through the filtration system.”
Mr. Ma said it would take a few minutes for the air to completely pass through the filtration system. By requiring everyone to wear a mask, she says it helps reduce the amount of virus that infected individuals release into the atmosphere and the amount of virus that a person wearing a mask can inhale. Said.
Leonard J. Marcus, director of the Harvard University Aviation Public Health Initiative, also agreed.
“Yes, the ventilation systems on the plane are great. They are comparable to what you might find in the operating room,” he said. But “it’s multiple layers, not just that.”
Marcus said masks are especially important when people get on and off the plane, or move in the cabin of the plane. The increasing number of cases of COVID-19 and the threat of Omicron variants also make it essential to wear masks on airplanes, he said.
“People are moving around, people are talking to someone, and people are sometimes picking up and drinking masks,” Marcus said. Release A January report that supports a “layered” approach to reducing risk. “If everyone wears a mask, the transmission of the disease is much less.”
Flight Attendants Association-CWA, AFL-CIO, also a union representing about 50,000 flight attendants Called Keep in mind that not all airplanes are equipped with a HEPA filtration system, obscuring the “key factor” of safety in flight.
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