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There’s Less Than 1% Chance of Catching Covid-19 Flying, Says Airline Exec

Executives from four major U.S. airlines share thoughts on blocked middle seats, the future of business travel, and the issues that’ll affect flying beyond the pandemic. ( More...

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Dale Rowett 14
"Chickens have less than 1% chance of being eaten by a fox in a henhouse," says fox.
paul trubits 3
Since there are 40,000 chickens in a hen house that would make sense
rbt schaffer 0
That would be 400 chickens at 1 percent. Now you want to fly 1,000,000 chickens to WHERE?
Craig Good 7
They are depending on people thinking that a 1% risk is very small. It isn't.
SkyAware123 -3
As small as catching the flu. And survival rate is the same or less than the flu. Keep drinking the coolaid
Jan Smith -2
Ken Lane -4
NO!!!! And, not one single realistic statistic is above one percent. In fact, they're not even above a half percent. The ONLY significant percentages are those of older ages which are more at risk. Period.

The media is depending on the stupidity of the plethora of idiots in this nation that are too braindead to realize the media is sensationalizing the case count and entirely ignoring the death rate and particularly the demographics of those deaths.

Need proof? We were told from the start those most affected are those with underlying health conditions. That most certainly includes the older population. And, it includes those with asthma, diabetes, recent organ transplants and any health issue that results in an immunodeficiency.

So, how does that reflect in the numbers?

Age Range % of all deaths
Under 1 year 0.0103%
1–4 years 0.0077%
5–14 years 0.0165%
15–24 years 0.1865%
25–34 years 0.7795%
35–44 years 2.0382%
45–54 years 5.3526%
55–64 years 12.7631%
65–74 years 21.5703%
75–84 years 26.4644%
85 years plus 30.8108%

Total deaths as of 9/30: 194,091

This does not even begin to account for the recent information from the CDC that only about 9% of all COVID-related deaths were from ONLY COVID-19.

Death from pneumonia alone is about 50,000 per year. Some this year also had COVID-19 which complicated the pneumonia. That increased the death rate from the some 1.3 million pneumonia cases each year.

In most sets of ranges, the cut is by decade which makes more sense given the portion of deaths within 55-64 is significantly above age sixty.

Most will get the virus and recover without ever knowing they had it. Then, they'll be immune from there forward.

Seriously... how many times have you heard the media talk about age demographics or stress that the elderly and others with underlying health conditions should remain home? The answer is, little to none.
Glen Alleman 5
Don't confuse the 6% for COVID alone with "causal factor"
If you have a BMI > 30, systemic conditions (dozens), and you DON'T have COVID, your probability of death is documented at CDC
When you get COVID, and you have those underlying condition the "triggering" event is COVID
You died from COVID - the cause of death
Don't confuse the symptom with cause. The Cause in cases where you are infected with SAR-COV-2 is COVID
That's 6% is from uninformed, misinformed, and perhaps willfully misinformed supporters of the idea that COVID is just another respiratory disease, it's not. Please read the CDC data. It's the Excess Death rate you need to look at. The Excess Death rate is "driven" by COVID, therefore Cause os Death is COVID
Ken Lane 1
You seem to be all over the place.

The cause of death being strictly from COVID-19 is a fraction of all deaths claimed.

ANY underlying condition that causes an immunodeficiency can affect health and ability to defend against COVID-19.

It's that simple.

My point is the death rate is extremely small compared to the case counts being pushed in order to sensationalize the news. It's also done by the left for political purposes.
AWAAlum 2
You must have some inside track to data the rest of the population doesn't. You make these generalized statements which are your gut belief but certainly not based in fact. And if you say what you say is fact, point us to that font of undeniably factual information you speak of.
Ken Lane 1
I pull from the CDC, NIH and numerous other sources.

I do not depend on the BS the media feeds you.

I also apply a little common sense and math to the numbers and data provided.

They are not my belief. They are factual data. You're welcomed to prove me wrong which NONE of you have done.
AWAAlum 3
Look, my intent isn't to get involved in an argument. But it looks like you take what you say is good information, but then you tweak it to your satisfaction. Why would you doctor what you say is the real deal?
Ken Lane 1
You are trying to tear me down with rhetoric and nothing more.

Put forth a cogent argument based on facts or shut up.

My primary source:

I took the numbers, applied percentages along with facts that have been available since February.

I have no clue what that last sentence is supposed to be saying.
AWAAlum 2
Ken, Ken, Ken - you're coming off as a tad paranoid. I'm not trying to tear you down. I'm merely inquiring about what you call facts. You see to speak with such authority. It's the stuff you're calling the real deal that's beig questioned. Calm down, bro.
Ken Lane 1
My facts came from statistics posted by the CDC.

All I did was turn raw numbers into a percentage of a total number.

So, are you calling them a liar?

Others are based on a percentage of the US population.
Bruce Pryde 0
YOU: "I also apply a little common sense and math to the numbers and data provided."

There's the problem right there.That's not how studies are done, flying by the seat of pants?
Jan Smith -1
ToddBaldwin3 17
I would like to see the raw data, and the manuscript for the study. Then I'll decide whether or not to trust what the airlines say.
mags stumpp 21, there is one lucky winner on every flight with 100 PAX?
I went to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health website. Found a note about this on-going research, but no report. Has anyone else found the report? I'm VERY suspicious of this "1%" statistic.
SmiKooMan 5
1% transmission of SARS-COV2 with 200 people on board.... hmmm. At the population level, 2000 transmission cases every 1000 flights. If talking COVID-19 symptoms developing... well that's a lot more, perhaps 2x that transmission rate.
Jakub Bialek 4
When wearing a mask, that is.
David Tuturea 8
In 2019 there were 2.9 million US air passengers per day on average. 1% translates to 29,000 COVID cases per day. That would nearly double the US daily case rate. Not acceptable!
Dave Smith 1
The airlines are carry 70% fewer pax this year as compared to last year. Thirty percent of 29,000 is 8700 cases per day. Still a lot of cases, but a whole lot less than 29,000.
mmc7090 3
Covid-19 didn't walk here from Wuhan.
Cases doesn't exactly equate with mortality. Takina look at FAA and industry legal guidance on passengers who are expected to follow Doctors guidence. Without verification these policies are meaningless
DaveRK 7
I had to fly to CLE a week ago from MLB (family emergency).
1 flight (CRJ900) the fool next to me kept taking his mask off and coughing.
If a crew member was close by, he put it back on.
I'm not a troublemaker, but his arrogance was a health hazard. Had it not been a full flight I would have asked to be moved.
I tried to get a FA's attention. Except for checking seat belts prior to push back, it seemed they would NOT look at passengers, they looked straight ahead and down toward the aisle, as if they didn't want to see anything.
On a return flight (A319), a younger fella had a beard that kept the mask well off his face and he just let it fall down.
I don't have the answer, but it was obvious the A/L was only doing what was minimally required to stay within the law.
Dana Plummer 2
Let me guess it was American Airlines. I’ve flown several times in the past couple months. American Airlines packs them in. Almost 100%. Very poor enforcement of the mask rule. People wearing them under the nose etc.
What that passenger did, EVERYONE in the general public does with masks. Not the coughing, but the constant, repeated touching and removal and putting back on. Which then transfers the creepy crud to their fingers. Which they then transfer to whatever they touch.

The WHO has mask hygiene protocols. NO ONE follows them. How many people wash their hands immediately BEFORE touching their masks and then again immediately AFTER touching their masks? Literally no one. No one out on the streets, no one in the stores, and no one in the airplanes where the idiot airlines REQUIRE masks, and thus essentially require people to transfer mask crud to the fingers and then to whatever else they touch. Because human nature is human NATURE.

Masking of the general public is Kabuki theater. Even the New England Journal of Medicine agrees.

"We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic."
Bruce Horwitz 12
Too bad you don't read with comprehension. In the first sentence of your quote you seem to have missed the word "from". Masks, in general, are worn to protect others. Do you think your surgeon wears a mask because he or she is afraid of catching something FROM you? No, masks in this context are worn to protect others. Your wearing a mask doesn't keep someone from spitting at you; their mask does.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Or better yet, is it YOUR ignorance? You keep forgetting, whether it is lost within your continual false blathering about this pandemic and your ignorance of and to it (which is your ignorance as well) that FARs and the ACAA give the airlines the right to act on anything and everything they need to, especially related to COVID.

So no, not his ignorance, yes, the other passenger's arrogance, yes to the FA's ignorance/naivety to the situation, and more importantly, your ignorance to all of it full stop.
djames225 7
Speaking of is too bad you have to keep referring to the virus as a flu, or as you keep referring to it as ChinaFlu. It is NOT the flu! It IS a respiratory virus.
The way you are carrying on, you might as well link all respiratory viruses into 1 and call them flu.
Just don't!
DaveRK 3
Yes he had an issue, he felt he was King (of something).
His actions, and expecting preferential treatment at the gate, where a dead giveaway.
I chose not to point that out originally, because they weren't germain to the mask situation.
RECOR10 -9
When do we start testing PX for Mumps, TB, Meningitis, Whooping Cough...I could go on and on...Imagine how "safe" we could all be....
you mean those we already have vaccines for? False equivalence again. Man, the ignorance is strong today.
False equivalence? Not exactly. We have vaccines for them, but the vaccines are NOT mandatory around the globe. So you never know whether the person sitting next to you on a plane has or HASN'T been vaccinated for those things. THAT is his point, one that seems to have escaped you. Ignorance is strong today? Yeah, it is, and you're contributing to it.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Mark Kentwell 4
Darwin Awards - pretty sure we have your next winner here!
You have yet to rebut even a single point of RECOR10's. Is it because you can't? That's where I'd put my money.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Mark Kentwell 7
Hook, Line & Sinker - just too easy to catch... now back into your bunker and careful you dont cut yourself with that tinfoil hat - bye bye
RECOR10 -9
You must be smarter than me, please, can you remind me how many folks have died from ChinaFlu without a co-morbidity? I seem to forget, was it one percent or under?
wbwb123 2
Comorbidity list is so broad, it encompasses most everyone over about 35. Pretty useless statistic.
AWAAlum 3
What ? There is no such thing as "China Flu".
In America, the CDC is estimating 6% of deaths are without any co-morbidities. The total (inflated, because of financial incentives and the CDC's advice to include anyone even suspected of having the WuFlu virus when they died), that is, the total death toll in America is 213,000. 6% of 213,000 is 12,780. The death toll from 2009/10's Swine Flu (when there WERE no absurd financial incentives or CDC diktats) is 12,469. So right now, even WITH today's absurd incentives to count deaths, the WuFlu death toll in America is roughly the same as the official Swine Flu death toll.

And civilization has been shuttered, and millions of sheep are willingly wearing face diapers.
Ken Lane -2
You people keep voting down Andrew's comment yet put nothing forward to challenge what was said.

Where is he wrong?

Congress created a financial incentive to falsify numbers. And, unless the HHS inspector general does an in-depth investigation on those numbers from any agency or facility that received those funds we'll never know how bad it really is.
Larry Horton 5
Oh yeah I am going to take medical advise from an airline executive. You are going to find little sympathy for the airlines from the flying public. The airlines have jerked their customers around for years with unreasonable fees cramped seating and staff who think they are Chuck Norris. It is a shame the line employees are having to pay for it but what goes around comes around.
Glen Alleman 2
And where is the double-blind peer-reviewed data showing that is the case? For any and all flights, by equipment, duration, passager load, and the other dozen or so independent variables.
Better yet, what is the chance an infected person is sitting next to you, in front, or behind you.
Where is the CDC rule for 6 feet separation
These are "thoughts" NOT informed by science - stop with the marketing
AWAAlum 0
It's not possible to believe it's just marketing. Tell that to the families and loved ones who have died from this hideous virus. Believe - don't believe - what do you believe it hurts to just wear a freaking mask, and do what is being recommended? The alternative is too too much to accept.
Allen Irons 2
Southwest is still blocking middle seats.
C J 1
Wish they would clean their planes though.
Yet I've read articles written by real practicing physicians and researchers that say that flying right now is FAR TOO RISKY, and the chances to be infected are far too high to make even many short fligts way too risky.

And ALL of this depends on how diligent the airline is in maintaining safety through mask wearing, and social distancing (as much as possible).

Yeah, if you HAVE to fly, be careful! If you don't have to fly, DON'T! It's far too risky.

But listen to the airline exec, because he's afraid he's going to lose his (or her) job, obviously an unbiased expert on your safety. *COUGH* *COUGH*
aurodoc 5
I am a physician and have flown and both my wife and daughter have traveled to Europe with no issue other then some service reduction. If you take precautions by wearing eye protection, a mask, and as I have done for the last 5 years wipe down the belt, tray, window shade and armrests then I think you can fly safely if you need to travel. Testing before and/ or after arrival is important to track potential infection.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

djames225 5
Curious why you think face masks are useless

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

The mask is not to protect the wearer, although there may be some benefit, it is designed to keep infected exhalations from impacting others. But then, as a physician, you knew that, right?
RECOR10 -5
So, if YOU are worried, YOU stay home. Easy.
You don't get the right to force others to have to stay home because of your ignorance/incompetence during this pandemic. Your rights end where other's rights begins. You are essentially blaming the victim for being the problem, when you are perpetuating the problem.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

wiregold 6
"I am blaming victims ALL the time!"
Stellar come back.
Trump much?
djames225 1
So you are saying, basically, that if all those folks who are wearing/wore masks did not wear a mask, that it would make no difference to the transmission rate? That the cases impacting the world would stay relatively close to what they are?
Robert Cowling -2
But people have some control over touching things and touching their faces. We have no control if a maskless idiot sneezes or coughs and their infectedness drifts where someone is just trying to stay safe.

If everyone wore masks immediately when this started, a sizable portion of the dead wouldn't have been infected at all. So, the 'pro-life party' is responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of people who didn't have to die. DIDN'T HAVE TO DIE!!!

And now with trump saying that he WANTED blue states to have massive loss of life, he's a serial liar and murderer. It's only when someone pointed out to him that his base was dying too that he took it more seriously.

He's the only hoax in America. He's lied about his business successes, he's lied about his life, he's lied about his religiousness, he's lied about everything about his life.

And you believe the idiots he's assembled to increase the COVID death toll?

Even missued, as long as they cover the mouth, they are better than nothing.
RECOR10 -8
False. Curious, when again was it that HIV Vaccine came out, I mean, it is only a virus, right?
djames225 4
Einstein..I think it's time you went back to school. I am not an MD, BUT do remember some of my biology.
HIV is a DNA retrovirus and SARS-Cov 2 (COVID-19) is a RNA coronavirus. 2 COMPLETELY different virus strains.
RECOR10 -4
And yet, flu vaccine is still a guess...while the variants of a virus are is the ability of humans to end the process of death. In the mean time, go on vacation and fly there.
djames225 4
No a normal flu vaccine is not a guess...and the mutations of this virus are NOT clear at all.
BTW this is NOT a flu, no where near a flu. And I have gone on vacation, but drove. Why?...because our country has some beautiful scenery that I have not ventured to see yet, so about time.
RECOR10 -4
Funny, I ride bikes frequently with a flier who has been all over the country (Commercial Pilot based out of another state). Oddly, he is not playing the delusional hypochondriac game...he is however riding out west this week (plenty of space in the hold to move his bike around at will).
You know.. a few people said and thought the same as you, to the point where they went to some place you may know famously for bike gatherings: Sturgis.

Thanks to them and the ignorance of Kristi Noem, they are responsible for over 100,000 outbreaks of COVID. All because they "ride bikes frequently", and "don't play the delusional hypochondriac game".

I guess the saying is true for you: it is all fun and games until someone you know gets hurt.
paul trubits 0
Do you wear a helmet when you ride?
The false equivalence is strong with you. You are actually trying to compare a sexually transmitted disease to a respiratory disease, not knowing that the means of contraction are completely different, let alone procedures for getting and creating those vaccines are equally different.

Oh wait: arrogance or ignorance again. Well, I'm not giving you any guesses as to which one you've shown again.
wiregold 4
Technically it (AIDS) is a blood-borne pathogen. Plenty of people contracted AIDS without sexual contact but then RECOR10 doesn't seem to have the ability to work through such distinction.
djames225 1 never did answer my question!
SkyAware123 1
How is this even measured ?
Justthefacs 1
Now is the best opportunity to mandate seating on planes. If all had the same seating would it be any different than today? All would have costs dependent on services offered.
bbabis 1
And the better news is less than 1% of the 1% will have any serious issues. Grandma and grandpa along with any seriously compromised person should still not be flying commercially.
Flora Brands 1
Finally a guy is thinking with his brain and not following money and power! Thank you for some common sense!
garritt 1
so if there are 300 on the plane only 3 have it & only 1 out of 5 flights dies ummmm !
dj horton 1
If the chances of getting it on Air Force One are 100%, I think the chances of getting it in an airliner are a little higher than 1
Yeah, well, the chances AREN'T 100% of getting it on AF1, because if it were, then everyone'd be infected. Further, we don't know where or how any of them caught it; we don't even know if the tests returned FALSE positives (although Hicks has symptoms, so her test may have a greater likelihood of being accurate).
Bob Lamond 0
I’m not seeing any reporting that says POTUS, FLOTUS, or Hope Hicks were infected while traveling on Air Force 1. Have you seen something that says that?
As an airline executive, he should know that 1% is 1 in 100. A 65-year-old American has a 1.3 in 1000 chance of dying from a COVID infection (based on current tallies). So essentially he is saying that the risk of a fatality is 1 in 100,000 (100 x 1000). An NTSB study found the odds of dying on a commercial flight due to an accident or crash is one in 29.4 million. THat quite a reduction in safety. I wonder if he should be in charge of an airline?
You don't compare it to the chances of dying in a plane crash. You compare it to the chances of catching it in all the OTHER ordinary walks of life. Otherwise, your rationale would have no one ever going swimming in the ocean again, because you're more likely to get eaten by a shark than to die in a plane crash. No more dance parties, folks: you have a 1 in 100,000 chance of dying at one. No more skydiving: 1 in 101,083. No more bicycling: 1 in 140,845. Definitely no scuba diving: 1 in 34,400.
Ken Lane -4
There's less than 0.2% chance you'll get the virus at all.

And, there's less than 0.06% you'd die from it. And, that's based on the "208,000" being bandied about by the media and not even close to accounting for all the false reporting that was incentivized by the idiots in Congress.

Remove all the underlying health conditions that could complicate influenza or other illness and that chance of death drops to 0.0054%.

On an airliner, you're going to be in one of the healthiest environments possible where air turnover is four to six times that of most any commercial building with roughly half of that air being fresh each hour from engine bleed. The only potentially cleaner environment is a lab where they make integrated circuits using not only HEPA 14 filters but also laminar air flow on the benches (I used to work in one where I wore a "bunny suit").

Now, for the mask idiocy... if you sneeze or cough on an airliner while wearing a mask, it won't go forward with all of it contained by the mask. That pressure is going to be relieved... to each side of the mask and right into the face of those next to you.

Never mind that if the standard for masks were applied to pilots, we'd have more crashes than the results of toddlers driving bumper cars. There is no standard for masks. And, not one single test I've read for masks applies real world use. They're unrealistic.

Trump did not call the virus a hoax. But, I will. Most certainly, the political handling of the virus is a hoax. They destroyed at $22.5 Trillion economy and put forty million people out of work. By the way, about $1.7 Trillion is just from the airline industry and about forty percent of the roughly 700,000 airline employees are still out of work. There's about 16,000 airliners still sitting in storage around the world and more than two dozen of the world's airlines have filed for bankruptcy protection just for operations within the United States. Several have ceased operations entirely never to return.

Yes, it's a hoax. Let the bashing begin.
Ken Lane 0
So, three people vote down my comment yet have no substantive contrast to what I presented.

Go figure.
AWAAlum 1
Oh heck, let's make it four.
Ken Lane -2
Nice try. It's been turned around to only two voted down.
Thomas Gorman 0
I kept looking for someone to address the elephant in the aisle - the circulation and filtration of cabin air, i.e, the mode of transmission.
THANK YOU FOR ASKING ABOUT CABIN AIR. I logged on to address the issue but was disappointed your message is the only one. I spent 35 years with a major airline flying prop, turboprop and jet aircraft. Some time ago the safety of recirculated cabin air was discussed. An airline reported super filtration of recirculated cabin air with high performance HEPA filters.

Blocking the middle of 3 seats is worthless. At the same row left and right both window seats are getting the SAME recycled cabin air (with a high percentage of filtration).

Airlines push recycled air because it saves fuel. If recycled air could not be an issue the aircraft would not have Recirc on/off switches (Boeing). There can be several reasons to turn off the recirc fans. It is not an "Abnormal" procedure. Galley is most likely source for smoke and or smell that you don't want to go round and round the aircraft several times.

On long international flights right after takeoff I manually ran the cabin pressure up to 5000 feet and turned off the Recirc fans to clean up the air right away. Long flights 35000 feet and higher in Auto mode put the cabin pressure above 5000 feet.

I am not flying airlines until the masks disappear and recycled air is addressed.
aurodoc 0
The article states less than 1 percent not 1 percent. It could be .001 percent so difficult to determine odds of catching virus. The CDC mentions a a potential of 11000 passengers exposed to the virus but this takes data from very early on when planes were full and no protection was used. I would like to see data from the last 3 months when protection was implemented and flights were not full. I also would like to see any data on flight crews who have documented Covid infection attributed to flying.
J B 0
Will have to learn if Trump / entourage got or spread it on AF1, and how the travelling public reacts to that.
rstotz 0
Another medical expert to the podium. Any we should believe him because.....?
There no blocked middle seats any where in the US at the moment flew AA and United airplane was chicken block full and absolutely no social distances it’s all hog wash saw 88 years old lady eating away through out my 4 hour flight
Tim Cahill 4
I just flew JetBlue from BOS to LAS and all their middle seats are blocked out (flights on 9/26 and 10/1). Mask enforcement was good and everyone was compliant. Both planes also smelled like they had just been cleaned when we boarded. I was very impressed.
Anne Bracken 1
Delta blocks the middle seat. I know this from flying recently and receiving, as a frequent flyer, multiple emails stating they will continue this practice through January.
Will send you pictures am flying on Tuesday delta to Lax
digitalga 1
D Rotten -6
The WHOLE 'Big, Bad Virus' is FAKE!! Those of us who read REAL news (Indy) and have listened to what REAL Doctors and REAL Scientists have had to say KNOW this! (REAL = NOT bought-and-paid-for). It was JUST A SEASONAL FLU! Moreover, this years SEASONAL FLU was LESS DEADLY than previous years. Good GAWD!'s SO amazing to witness just how DUMBED-DOWN 'humans' have become!! It's frightening!!
AWAAlum 1
Um...excuse me...knock knock knock...this year's seasonal flu is just beginning to gear up now.
djames225 1
Maybe you want to say that, in person, to 2 buddie's families. In good shape and SARS-Cov2 killed them..ALL BY ITSELF.
Next time you want to shoot off your mouth saying it's fake, LOOK at the US government and tell me it's fake. Then mouth off it's fake to a person who lost a loved 1 or friend and tell them it's fake. Then we shall see how DUMBED down you are with no teeth!!
A certain POTUs flying on a certain helicopter to a certain military hospital in a certain city in a certain state shoots your entire comment and viewpoint down.

Everyone who has had to listen to the same drivel you and aforementioned POTUS have spewed for 10 months are experiencing a huge case of schadenfreude because of it. But keep going; it's pathetically entertaining.
SkyAware123 -2
stocked up on coolaid I see.
Ken Lane -2
Really? What did he say?


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