Pandemic and travel impacts at Atlanta airport

National

ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The U.S. can count 3 million new coronavirus cases in just the past 3 weeks.
But despite the CDC’s recommendation is urging people not to travel, major airports are still seeing record passenger numbers this Thanksgiving holiday.

Nearly a million passengers are expected to fly out of the world’s busiest airport — Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson international this Thanksgiving week.

Dr. Henry Wu, Director of Emory Travel Well Center said, “If you travel by air the good news is that evidence suggests aircraft cabin is safe. The air filtration is quite effective. If everyone wears the mask, it can reduce the transmission on a flight.”

Airport leaders say that’s down a third from the same time last year — but say it’s the highest in terms of passenger volume since the pandemic started, with another 200-thousand expected on Sunday.

Dr. Carlos Del Rio said, “I also take eye protection. I have taken 10 flights since the pandemic has started. I feel confident. You have to be careful. I don’t take my mask off and don’t take a snack on the plane.”

“Certainly getting a COVID test can help catch infections and may be required to states or countries. Remember they are not full proof and can be false negatives and don’t rule out that you could still be infected after the test,” said Dr. Henry Wu

Doctors say you have a higher chance of contracting the virus at the airport than inside the plane.

“Getting tested after your travels can be a good idea especially  if you have had an exposure and safest to quarantine for two weeks after your trip,” said Dr. Wu.

So before you buckle up and lift your tray tables, health experts say keep those masks on for the entire flight and eat or drink before you board.

Dr. Carlos Del Rio said, “We are already seeing a surge now. It’s going to get worse if we don’t do the right thing.”

Atlanta’s airport received nearly 5 million masks for passengers and employees, has added plexiglass partition in the security queue, installed hand sanitizing stations and touchless options for parking and check-in.


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