The risk of contracting COVID-19 during air travel is low according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Pombal, JAMA 2020) authored by medical experts from the aviation industry. The reason given is that modern airplanes circulate a mix of fresh air and air recycled through HEPA filters and the air flow comes down from above and exits through outlets in the floor (see diagram).
However, this does not mean that there is no risk when flying. There have been several reports of passengers on long flights becoming infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
At the same time, there are many steps you can take to reduce the risk of infection when flying. These range from where to sit, how to use the overhead air nozzle, when to eat (if you must), when to use the overhead bin for carry-on luggage, and more.
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