New reporting from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that nearly 11,000 people were potentially exposed to the Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19 on flights without realizing it.
The CDC said that some of those travelers likely fell ill, but also were not part of complete contact tracing efforts.
“An absence of cases identified or reported is not evidence that there were no cases,” said Caitlin Shockey, a spokeswoman for the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.
The CDC’s public guidance on viruses in general notes that they don’t typically spread easily on planes due to air filtration. However, the close proximity of passengers on flights is a major cause for concern.
In other words, person-to-person contact is an area of concern.
However, public health officials noted that given the circumstances there is an equally-reasonable chance that some people who were exposed to the virus were either asymptomatic, or recovered from it without noticing.
They call for face coverings as a solution to concerns about air travel.
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