COVID-19

Keep those planes clean: CDC issues new guidance for airlines amid outbreak

Marielle Segarra Mar 9, 2020
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Deep cleaning could be quite time-consuming, and potentially lead to flight delays. Laurel Chor/Getty Images
COVID-19

Keep those planes clean: CDC issues new guidance for airlines amid outbreak

Marielle Segarra Mar 9, 2020
Deep cleaning could be quite time-consuming, and potentially lead to flight delays. Laurel Chor/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The CDC has come out with new guidance for airlines on how they should clean planes between flights.

When you walk onto an airplane, especially for a domestic flight, chances are your seat and tray table and armrest have not been disinfected recently. George Hobica, a travel columnist at the Los Angeles Times, says planes tend to get a more thorough cleaning when they’re on the ground overnight.

“But if it’s a connecting flight and lands in Chicago, and then 30 minutes later it goes on to Los Angeles, that plane is not going to be cleaned except for removing trash,” Hobica said.

Gross.

In this new guidance, the CDC says if airline staff see someone who appears to have a fever, they should do a deep clean instead: disinfect bathrooms and everything within 6 feet of the passenger.

“If they can identify the passenger,” Hobica said.

That’s a big if. Many people with this virus have no symptoms or mild ones. Also, flight attendants have other responsibilities.

Samuel Engel at the consulting firm ICF says the new guidelines could lead to delays.

“Doing that deep cleaning in between flights, for a 6 foot radius around the passenger would, in fact, be quite time-consuming,” Engel said.

And it would be expensive, too.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

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