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CDC flags 1600 flights where person on board may have had COVID-19

CDC flags 1600 flights where person on board may have had COVID-19
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Thousands of people may have been exposed to the coronavirus on commercial flights this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement on Wednesday.

The CDC told CNN that it knows of 1,600 flights in the first eight months of the year where a person who may have had the virus was present. Up to 10,900 people may have been within the six-foot transmission range of that person during these flights, according to the agency.

"CDC identified and notified relevant health departments about these 10,900 on-board close contacts," the CDC said in a statement to the network.

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The CDC noted its contact information is incomplete for many of these cases and that in at least one case its notification of an infected traveler was delayed. Air travel has fallen to about 30 percent of 2019 levels, but air carriers have mounted an aggressive push to present it as safe.

"You are a lot safer in an airplane... than you are probably in your own home," Nick Calio of Airlines for America told CNN. "People don’t like being in a confined space, however, as opposed to being in your house, in a grocery store, in a church, in a bar or restaurant, or even a playground, you’re a lot better off.”

The industry and union leaders have also heavily lobbied for an extension of federal relief before a six-month extension of the Payroll Support Program expires Oct. 1.

“There’s agreement all over Washington. You see that with the representatives who are here with us today. Democrats and Republicans and Independents, all standing together, all saying that they support keeping aviation workers in our jobs and continuing to support all the economic activity and jobs that our jobs support as well. But support is not enough. We are not going to hand out participation trophies,” Association of Flight Attendants-CWA President Sara Nelson said on Capitol Hill Tuesday.