The risk of being infected with the COVID-19 on an airplane is extremely low if passengers wear masks, according to a study conducted by aboard Boeing long-haul jets by the North American country military and published Thursday.
Researchers using sensors and fluorescent tracers measured the degree of airborne contagious matter emitted by a dummy simulating an infected person breathing normally.
The passengers most exposed to the infected person - those simply before of, behind or beside the dummy - were represented in the study by the sensors.
Some 300 test rounds were carried out on the ground and in flight throughout eight straight days in August in cooperation with United Airlines on Boeing 767 and 777 jetliners.
The study concluded that 99.7 % of COVID-19 contamination particles were eliminated by the delicate ventilation systems on the planes before they reached the passengers seated closest to the dummy.
Expanding outward to the 40 seats closest to the infected person, the elimination rate is 99.99 %, the study mentioned.
The results prompted US military transport officials to conclude that even on a full plane, the extent of transmission over 12 hours of flight was negligible.
However, the tests solely checked out a scenario involving one infected traveler. They also assumed that everybody on the plane wore a mask continuously, and did not address a situation during which an infected person walks round the plane.
"While the tests did have some limitations," mentioned Commander Joe Pope, the United States transportation Command operations directorate liaison for the testing, "the results are encouraging."
"For each the 777 and 767 airframes, the calculation show about 54 flight hours are needed for cumulative inhalation of an assumed infectious dose," Pope said.