Delta Study: Covid-19 transmission rate in aircraft is extremely low!
The risk of exposure to Covid-19 while traveling - after all passengers have been tested negative up to 72 hours before the flight - is less than 0.1%. A unique study that examined real-world customer data on the tested flight corridors of Delta Air Lines between New York-JFK, Atlanta and Rome Fiumicino International Airport in Italy.
The study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings showed that a single molecular test, performed within 72 hours of departure, could reduce the rate of infected people aboard a commercial aircraft to a level that is significantly below active infection rates in different communities. .
For example, when the average community infection rate was 1.1% - about 1 in 100 people - infection rates on Covid-19 tested flights were 0.05% - 5 out of 10.000 passengers.
The Georgia Department of Health and the Mayo Clinic conducted the study with Delta Air Lines.
"These real-world data - not simulation models - are what governments around the world can use as a plan to request vaccinations and tests instead of quarantine to reopen borders for international travel.", explained Henry Ting, head of Delta health.
Ting added that real experience and testing protocol demonstrate that there is a very low risk of infection transmission, confirming previous models of viral transmission simulation. The study began in December with the Covid-19 transatlantic testing program that allowed trips without quarantine to Italy and allowed teams to review and model various feasibility testing strategies, false positive rates and case detection rates.
Now, the results of this study are available - providing unique information on the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, on-board infection rates and showing the feasibility of implementing a test protocol with significant impact. These figures will continue to improve as vaccination rates rise and cases fall worldwide.