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Major airlines want airports to check your temperature before boarding — but that can give you the wrong sense of security.

In an effort to keep COVID-19 transmissions low on flights, Delta, American Airlines and Jet Blue announced last week that they would refund people who failed airport temperature checks. Temperature checks aim to help identify people infected with coronavirus at security checkpoints, but Brian Labus, Ph.D., MPH, an infectious disease epidemiologist and professor of public health at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said temperature testing is not themselves. That’s enough to get the infected people off the plane.

Major Airlines Want Airports To Check Your Temperature Before Boarding—But That May Offer a False Sense of Security
Major Airlines Want Airports To Check Your Temperature Before Boarding—But That May Offer a False Sense of Security

“We know that half of the people with this disease have no symptoms, so you’ll miss half of those who are likely to be contagious initially,” Labus said. In addition, these devices are not perfect, they do not necessarily have a fever and not everyone lowers the fever even if they are sick. You can take Tylenol and it can lower your temperature to the point where you can fly and still infect others. It can give the false sense of security that this is enough to actually protect people when they board a plane. ”

Pre-flight temperature checks don’t involve TSA agents sticking thermometers into your mouth. Dr Labus said they use tools such as thermal cameras and temperature guns to measure a person’s skin temperature. Dr. Labus said: “If you’re doing an actual thermometer, it’s a lot harder but it’s a medical device designed to measure someone’s temperature.

“In this case, we’re talking about a lot of devices that aren’t designed for medical purposes. They are not designed to detect fever. And just because your skin is warm doesn’t mean you have a fever, you can get just run through a hot parking lot to get into the airport and that’s why your [skin] temperature rises. ”

Temperature checks are one of the many precautions that airlines are taking. Airlines for America, a trade organization representing several major airlines, said in a statement that it continues to require all passengers to wear face coverings over their noses and mouths while employees perform intensive disinfection procedures. In addition, airlines have introduced a range of policies such as picking up passengers in advance and adjusting catering services to reduce interaction. Airlines for the Americas represent Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest, Hawaiian, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Atlas Air, and Air Canada affiliate member.

Dr. Labus said the best way to reduce the risk of transmission to passengers was to force people to wear masks during the flight and keep their capacity low. He said: “Leave the central seats open so you don’t sit straight at others. However, American Airlines and United Airlines announced that they have continued to fill flights to capacity.

“Airports are closing every other urinal so people don’t stand side by side for 20 seconds, but airlines still say it’s safe to fly across the country by the elbow with others,” labs said. It’s just a disease transmission formula. The more people you put in a small space, the higher your risk of transmitting the disease. As the number of cases is trending up across the country, this is not the time to do that.”

If you’re sitting in a window and someone else with COVID-19 is sitting in the aisle or in the next row, you’re still in a very high-risk situation. However, Dr. Labus says that doesn’t mean we should give up on maintaining distance. “The risk diminishes with distance,” Dr. Labus said. You can’t do that six feet on a plane. But just because you can’t do six feet doesn’t mean you should change it to zero feet.”

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