Airplane Virus Transmission Risk Low
Commercial jets’ air filtration systems sweep up airborne coronavirus within minutes, a Pentagon test found, suggesting that flying poses a low risk of exposure.
Aerosol tracer particles were no longer detectable after six minutes in the cabin of commercial United Airlines Holdings Inc. Boeing 767 and 777 aircraft, the U.S. Transportation Command announced Thursday. The air exchange and filtration systems provided more protection than hospital isolation and operating rooms.
The average American home takes about 90 minutes to clear such particles from the air, the command said.
The tests, conducted in late August, involved more than 300 aerosol releases over eight days. The results have limitations because the testing considered only one infected passenger on the flights, according to Cmdr. Joe Pope, Transportation Command’s operations directorate liaison for the testing.
The study found masks highly effective, reducing the presence of particles in the cabin by about 95%, reporters were told at a briefing.
The testing used mannequins and was conducted by biodefense company Zeteo Tech LLC, DARPA, and the University of Nebraska’s National Strategic Research Institute. The findings will be submitted to a peer-reviewed medical journal.
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Southwest Headed for Larger Airports in Houston & Chicago
Southwest Airlines said Monday it will expand in Houston and Chicago by starting flights to those cities’ largest airports, stepping up its head-to-head competition against bigger airlines.
Southwest already serves smaller airports in both cities — Hobby in Houston and Midway in Chicago. The airline said it expects to return to Houston George Bush Intercontinental, where United is the dominant carrier, and launch service at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, where both United and American Airlines have major operations, in the first half of next year.
The move comes as the airline struggles with a steep drop in travel during the coronavirus pandemic. Southwest entered the downturn in stronger financial health than United or American, and its lesser reliance on moribund business travel could give it a further advantage. Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Watterson said Southwest also has idle planes that it can use for the new service.
FBI, DHS Issue Warning of Possible Hack of US Elections Systems
The U.S. Homeland Security Dept and FBI issue an alert on “recent malicious activity” that has been directed in part at federal, state and local govt networks.
“Although it does not appear these targets are being selected because of their proximity to elections information, there may be some risk to elections information housed on government networks,” the alert
Race for Virus Cure Hits Reality
The sprint to find medical breakthroughs to contain Covid-19 stumbled this week, as a pair of pharmaceutical giants working to develop treatments and vaccines suffered setbacks. Yesterday, Eli Lilly said that enrollment in a government-sponsored clinical trial of its antibody therapy had been paused out of safety concerns. That came less than 24 hours after Johnson & Johnson said research on its experimental vaccine was paused after a study volunteer fell ill.
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