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Empty Middle Seat In Flights Can Reduce Exposure To Covid: CDC

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Empty middle seats on flights can lower passengers' exposure to infections diseases, including COVID-19, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC has recommended airlines to keep aircraft cabin middle seats vacant to prevent transmission of viruses.

CDC says flights can hold large numbers of people very closely for long periods of time, a very suitable condition for transmitting infectious diseases. However, according to a study, when the middle seat was kept vacant, transmission were reduced by 23% to 57%, compared with full aircraft occupancy.

"Physical distancing of aircraft passengers, including through policies such as middle seat vacancy, could provide additional reductions in SARS-COV-2 exposure risk," the study notes.

Researchers at CDC estimated how far airborne virus particles travel inside a plane by using mannequins that emitted aerosol to measure the flow of virus particles through airline cabin mock-ups.

Current CDC guidelines recommend against travel for persons who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, and a January 2021 CDC order requires masking for all persons while on airplanes.

Last year, Delta, Southwest, Alaska and JetBlue blocked middle seats on planes, while United Airlines refused to do it. American Airlines blocked seats for a short time.

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