Airport COVID-19 safety measures still need work
Safety measures taken by U.S. airports have lowered travelers' risks of getting the new coronavirus, but more needs to be done, a new report claims.
"To be clear, we are not saying that it is safe to fly," but precautions taken by airports "do significantly reduce the risk of contracting the virus," for those who must fly, Leonard Marcus, founding codirector of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, said in a news briefing Thursday, The Washington Post reported. The initiative is a joint program of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Kennedy School of Government.
Wendy Purcell, Ph.D., a research associate in the department of environmental health at the Harvard Chan School, cited one airport that installed two miles of clear physical barriers, 500 hand sanitizing stations, and 5,000 floor decals to remind travelers of the importance of social distancing. Others, in conjunction with airlines, have adopted technology that enables people to check in for a flight, check their luggage, and obtain a boarding pass with almost no human contact, she added.
The researchers suggested that airports consider limiting eating and drinking in spaces where large numbers of travelers gather. If such a ban is not possible, steps should be taken to improve air circulation, the study said. The Harvard team said challenges still faced by airports include improving ventilation systems and making operational changes to handle more people once there is increased demand for air travel, The Post reported.
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