Why Don’t We Know If People Are Getting COVID on Planes?

It seems like all my friends got COVID this summer, and many think they got it on a plane. But that’s as anecdotal as data gets. What does, you know, science have to say?

I talked to Arnold Barnett, a professor of statistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who co-wrote a recent paper that modeled the risk of contracting COVID while flying early in the pandemic. He and his student combed through the available data and built a complex mathematical model to determine the risk of getting infected onboard. Yet they ran into limitations, because no organized effort was made by the U.S. or any country to systematically contact trace COVID transmissions onboard aircraft.

“Nobody is screened. Nobody is asked if they’ve come down with COVID,” he explains. “There was no attempt made to figure out where people got it. We have so little data.”

That’s right, of all the billions spent combating the virus, supplying at-home testing kits and bailing out the airlines, little…

Continue Reading →

This article was written by Sam Kemmis and originally published on www.nerdwallet.com