Studies have shown that it can reduce the risk of travellers exposed to the coronavirus by 23% to 57%
In a new study, researchers report that keeping the middle seat empty during the flight can reduce the risk of passengers being exposed to the coronavirus by 23% to 57%.
The co-author of the study, mechanical engineer Byron Jones of Kansas State Sutter University, said: “Furthermore, it’s always better in terms of exposure.” It’s true in restaurants, it’s true in restaurants, it’s true everywhere.”
But this study may overestimate the benefits of empty seats in the middle, because it does not consider the use of masks by passengers.
Joseph Allen, a ventilation expert at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said: “It’s important for us to understand how aerosols spread on airplanes.” But he added: “I’m surprised to see that this kind of analysis is being done now and A good statement was made that when the model does not include the effect of the mask, as a method of reducing risk, the middle seat should remain vacant. We know that masks are the most effective measure to reduce respiratory aerosol emissions.”
Although scientists have documented several cases of the spread of coronavirus on airplanes, airplane cabins are usually in a low-risk environment because they tend to have excellent ventilation and air filtration.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, people have been worried about the risks of air travel. The entire flight of the aircraft in a confined environment makes social distancing impossible. As a precaution, some airlines began to vacate the middle seats.
This new article was published last Wednesday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly and is based on data collected at Kansas State University in 2017. In this study, the researchers sprayed harmless aerosol viruses through two cabins. Then, the researchers monitored how the virus spread in each cabin.
Cost-benefit analysis is complicated for airlines. But Alex Hoffman, an aerosol scientist at the University of Denver who was not involved in the study, said that from a health point of view, leaving the middle seat vacant is helpful. Provide a buffer between people. He said: “For sprays and drops, distance is important.”