Virus Alerts from Airline Travel


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27 minutes ago, J.O. said:

I like Mike Rowe's take on it, but sadly, too many others who are advocating for things to be fully "open" are also refusing to take the precautions he's taking when they're necessary. I'm pretty sure he wears his seatbelt and respects speed limits because he understands the consequences, but too many people only wear a seatbelt because it's "the law" and only obey the speed limit when they think they might get caught. 

I've been following the situation in Australia, and if there is one flagrant difference between how they are responding to their spike in new cases and ours: ENFORCEMENT. All of the people who want to open up everything here seem to lose their discipline once they get what they want. So many bar operators are unwilling to push back against patrons bending the rules. In Australia, they fine both individuals and operators. They fined one homeowner $18,000 for an overcapacity house party. The cops found out about it because someone ordered a huge KFC delivery order, and a patron in the KFC though this was weird and ratted out the homeowner. When police arrived they literally found people hiding under beds, like they were raiding a speakeasy. If you take enforcement actions, you concentrate the mind for far more people. Its permissiveness that undermines compliance. It breeds defiance. 

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Read this Mike Rowe post on Facebook today. Makes a lot of sense. https://www.facebook.com/TheRealMikeRowe/posts/3445993122077473?__tn__=K-R Mike. In a recent post, you said you’ve been t

I've been following the situation in Australia, and if there is one flagrant difference between how they are responding to their spike in new cases and ours: ENFORCEMENT. All of the people who want to

I'm very open to Big Stick enforcement, and suspect a lot of Canadians are, it's just that our politicians pander to their base, which includes social conservatives like Derek Sloan who are vehemently

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The Aussies are far more open to the "big stick" enforcement approach than we are in Canada. They're also more community minded than we are. It's commonplace (maybe even the law) for employers to continue paying their workers while they're off on a two week volunteering stint with a charity or community organization. 

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41 minutes ago, J.O. said:

The Aussies are far more open to the "big stick" enforcement approach than we are in Canada. They're also more community minded than we are. It's commonplace (maybe even the law) for employers to continue paying their workers while they're off on a two week volunteering stint with a charity or community organization. 

I'm very open to Big Stick enforcement, and suspect a lot of Canadians are, it's just that our politicians pander to their base, which includes social conservatives like Derek Sloan who are vehemently against mandatory masking. 

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5 hours ago, dagger said:

I'm very open to Big Stick enforcement, and suspect a lot of Canadians are, it's just that our politicians pander to their base, which includes social conservatives like Derek Sloan who are vehemently against mandatory masking. 

Maybe you haven't noticed Dagger but it is actually the Liberals who have formed government and Derek Sloan is obviously going to finish last in in the Conservative leadership race. 

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6 hours ago, J.O. said:

The Aussies are far more open to the "big stick" enforcement approach than we are in Canada. They're also more community minded than we are. It's commonplace (maybe even the law) for employers to continue paying their workers while they're off on a two week volunteering stint with a charity or community organization. 

True for sure! I did a three week cycling trip there last October and the cops are everywhere and overtly aggressive to any perceived crime. Me and my buddy got accosted for not wearing helmets on the Bruce highway. Trucks ripping along at 120 KMH right beside us and we could barely manage to do 15 KMH in a headwind! I'm not the guy taking the pic, I'm the other one! We did manage to get the helmets back on but she wasn't buying it. 😅

Oz.jpg

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41 minutes ago, dagger said:

Well, I guess Ontario has no choice but to use the big stick after that Brampton house party on the weekend. Fines up to $100,000 threatened for the home owner.

Was that one of those Air B&B parties? We're having problems with those in BC and the government just added new guidelines to (hopefully) deal with  the issue.

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1 hour ago, J.O. said:

Was that one of those Air B&B parties? We're having problems with those in BC and the government just added new guidelines to (hopefully) deal with  the issue.

It isn't clear whether this was the homeowner or a rental, but there was a clear intent to break all the rules. The fences were raised so you couldn't see over them from the street, and guests were forbidden from taking videos or photos inside. 

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Good outcome.

Denied boardings with no compensation and, where necessary, landings for deplanement followed by billing the passenger(s) responsible, should be the absolute minimum outcome for anyone disobeying travel mandates on aircraft in Canada.

Canadians want the border to stay closed and they want the airlines and authorities to get tough with irresponsibility as we are seeing it in public places and on transportation systems.

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On 7/28/2020 at 8:44 AM, Don Hudson said:

Are any passengers refusing to wear masks? If so, what then, in Canada? I know what the response would be in Australia.

 

Refusing? Not yet, for me. Lots of people lowering them, only to be told to put them back. A few disgruntled types, but no refusals yet.

It's funny how when you ask someone a question, like, would you like a drink and they lower their mask to reply. Or they lower their mask to sneeze because it will soil the mask.

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“When you think about air travel, people are sitting in seats, they’re all facing forward, they’re high-back seats, the air flows, there’s not a lot of singing and dancing,” he said, adding that for these reasons Boeing does not see a need to block the middle seat.

Is flying safe during COVID-19? Here’s the scant bit of scientific evidence Transport Canada is relying on

Wed Aug. 5, 2020 - The Toronto Star
by Kenyon Wallace

Canada’s medical officers of health have repeatedly stressed the importance of physical distancing to reduce the possibility of COVID-19 transmission.

But step on an airplane in Canada and suddenly social-distancing rules, not to mention limits on how many people you should be around at a given time, no longer apply.

So what’s the basis for Transport Canada’s decision-making? The Star has found that Canada’s air travel regulator is relying on scant peer-reviewed scientific evidence regarding the spread of COVID-19 on airplanes in its decision not to mandate social distancing on commercial flights.

When asked for the scientific evidence guiding its recommendations to airlines, Transport Canada initially provided none, saying only that safety measures are “based on the best available science and evidence.”

When pressed by the Star for that evidence, the agency provided just one peer-reviewed study looking at an outbreak of COVID-19 that affected 16 passengers on a flight from Singapore to Hangzhou, China, in late January. The study concluded that one passenger may have become infected on the flight.

Transport Canada also provided a link to a letter to the editor published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal describing a flight from China to Toronto on Jan. 22 in which no cases of in-flight COVID-19 transmission were found despite the presence of a passenger who was symptomatic on the airplane and later tested positive for the virus.

The agency cited just one other report in a document published by the International Air Transport Association, a trade organization representing some 290 airlines around the world, describing a March flight from the United States to Taiwan with 12 symptomatic passengers on board. The report said no secondary cases in the 328 other passengers and crew were detected.

Transport Canada’s guidelines to the Canadian aviation industry, created with input from the Public Health Agency of Canada, recommend but do not require airline operators to “optimize social distancing.”

“However, in cases where distancing is not possible or practical, other protective measures against COVID-19 are in place as part of the multi-layered approach to support in reducing the risk of COVID-19,” said Transport Canada spokesperson Sau Sau Liu in an email. The measures include mandatory masks, hand-washing, limiting food services and increased use of air filtration systems on aircraft, Liu said.

“There are very few things ventilated as well as commercial airplanes,” said Jim Haas, director of product marketing at Boeing. “That is by design.”

He says airflow in commercial aircraft is designed to travel vertically from above passengers’ seats down to where walls meet the floor, thereby keeping air in one area from travelling throughout the cabin. The entire volume of cabin air is exchanged every two to three minutes with fresh air — a 50-50 mix of outside air sucked in through the engines and cabin air that has gone through high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.

“They’re the same type of stuff used in hospitals, isolation wards, operating rooms,” Haas said. “When the air comes in over your head, it’s clean.”

Haas also pointed to other design features in aircraft that he says make virus transmission in aircraft difficult.

“When you think about air travel, people are sitting in seats, they’re all facing forward, they’re high-back seats, the air flows, there’s not a lot of singing and dancing,” he said, adding that for these reasons Boeing does not see a need to block the middle seat.

Canada’s largest airlines, Air Canada and WestJet, both began selling adjacent or middle seats on aircraft July 1 after blocking them shortly after the pandemic began.

The airlines say they are taking layered approaches to passenger safety aimed at limiting the chances of any virus transmission. These include “touchless” check-ins, temperature checks and questionnaires before boarding, enhanced cleaning of high-touch areas, electrostatic spraying or fogging of aircraft interiors, mandatory mask wearing for passengers and crew, and changes to on-board service.

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, has said temperature-taking is “not effective at all.”

“Even if you are infected, we know that the likelihood of picking up someone who is symptomatic is sort of, relatively, inefficient,” she said on May 4.

Air Canada and WestJet say they are relying on data and evidence from a variety of sources, including researchers, medical experts and the International Air Transport Association.

Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick acknowledged there are few comprehensive COVID-19 studies, but said the aviation community is drawing on a range of preliminary reports on the virus and earlier studies of other contagious diseases.

“While studies vary in their focus and methodology, there is general agreement that the risk of contracting COVID-19 and other communicable diseases on board an aircraft is exceedingly small,” Fitzpatrick said.

He added that the airline has undertaken several medical collaborations to advance biosafety across its business, including with Cleveland Clinic Canada in Toronto; Ottawa-based Spartan Bioscience to explore rapid COVID-19 testing in an aviation environment; and Toronto-based BlueDot, a company that monitors infectious diseases globally.

WestJet spokesperson Morgan Bell told the Star in an email the decisions the airline makes are “data-driven or evidence-based” and pointed to several publications, including the same Canadian Medical Association Journal report cited by Transport Canada, and a statement by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control that said the risk of getting infected with COVID-19 on an aircraft “cannot be excluded but is currently considered to be low for an individual traveller.”

She also pointed to a study published after the 2002 SARS outbreak looking at the transmission of infectious diseases during commercial air travel that concluded the environmental system used on planes “seems to restrict the spread of airborne pathogens, and the perceived risk is greater than the actual risk.” That same study also concluded, however, that “commercial airlines are a suitable environment for the spread of pathogens carried by passengers or crew.”

Bell said the airline is a “highly safety sensitive organization in one of the most carefully regulated industries in the world.”

Since July 21, there have been 14 domestic flights and 23 international flights arriving or leaving Canada carrying passengers with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the federal government.

New Democrat MP Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway) has been a vocal critic of the Justin Trudeau Liberals for not ordering airlines to follow physical distancing rules. He is calling for a federal relief package to ensure carriers are not filling middle seats for economic reasons.

“Is it possible to practise physical distancing on aircraft? … The answer is yes. So the airlines are violating direct concrete, consistent advice being given by public health officials,” Davies told the Star. “They’re effectively subordinating public safety to the economics.”

Air Canada and WestJet dispute such assertions, saying passenger safety is of the utmost importance.

“Safety and profitability are not opposed but instead mutually reinforcing, as safety is always the customer’s first consideration in choosing an airline and a strong safety record is essential to long-term success,” said Air Canada’s Fitzpatrick.

Bell said WestJet has “safely flown more than 415,000 guests on 13,700 flights with no reported cases of transmissions on board our aircraft since March 24, when the pandemic began to ramp up in Canada,” noting that because of a downturn in demand, the company is still facilitating spacing on all aircraft when capacity allows.

While the limited amount of peer-reviewed research on the spread of COVID-19 in aircraft seems to suggest a low risk of transmission, epidemiologists and infectious disease experts say the dearth of such research is part of the problem. 

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1 hour ago, Lakelad said:

.

Is flying safe during COVID-19? Here’s the scant bit of scientific evidence Transport Canada is relying on

Bell said WestJet has “safely flown more than 415,000 guests on 13,700 flights with no reported cases of transmissions on board our aircraft since March 24, when the pandemic began to ramp up in Canada,” noting that because of a downturn in demand, the company is still facilitating spacing on all aircraft when capacity allows.

 

 

Hmmm 

 https://theairlinewebsite.com/topic/556575-virus-alerts-from-airline-travel/?do=findComment&comment=1865570

https://theairlinewebsite.com/topic/556575-virus-alerts-from-airline-travel/?do=findComment&comment=1866712

 

https://theairlinewebsite.com/topic/556575-virus-alerts-from-airline-travel/?do=findComment&comment=1866857

https://theairlinewebsite.com/topic/556575-virus-alerts-from-airline-travel/?do=findComment&comment=1867027

 

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25 minutes ago, Marshall said:

Hmmm

 

But there's big leap between exposure on a flight vs transmission. 

We keep tracking the exposures but I've yet to see any health official connect any new infection to transmission on a particular flight.  I suppose if just one person did get infected on a flight though how could you prove it?  I think you'd need 2 or 3 people that were newly infected and could be connected to a particular flight to raise the risk level but that scenario definitely hasn't happened yet or we'd all know about it.

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What Barnett came up with was that we have about a 1/4300 chance of getting Covid-19 on a full 2-hour flight — that is, about 1 in 4300 passengers will pick up the virus, on average. The odds of getting the virus are about half that, 1/7700, if airlines leave the middle seat empty. He’s posted his results as a not-yet-peer-reviewed preprint.

The odds of dying of a case contracted in flight, he found, are even lower — between 1 in 400,000 and 1 in 600,000 — depending on your age and other risk factors. To put that in perspective, those odds are comparable to the average risk of getting a fatal case in a typical two hours on the ground.

The numbers all sound low enough, though Barnett says they are still high compared to the 1 in 34 million odds your flight will end in a deadly crash.

Do we stay or do we go....

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20 hours ago, Specs said:

But there's big leap between exposure on a flight vs transmission. 

We keep tracking the exposures but I've yet to see any health official connect any new infection to transmission on a particular flight.  I suppose if just one person did get infected on a flight though how could you prove it?  I think you'd need 2 or 3 people that were newly infected and could be connected to a particular flight to raise the risk level but that scenario definitely hasn't happened yet or we'd all know about it.

B.C. plea leads to work on deal with airlines over contact tracing

News from Vancouver Sun – link to story and video

Concerns about the level of detail airlines provide have been greatest in B.C., where the provincial health officer has lamented a lack of movement from federal officials.

Canadian PressCanadian Press, Jordan Press  •  Publishing date: Aug 05, 2020

covid-cda-20200731.jpg?quality=100&strip Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Friday, July 31, 2020. Federal officials in talks with airlines over contact-tracing efforts are trying to sort out how much information companies should provide, and the mechanisms for the data to flow.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang JUSTIN TANG / THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA — British Columbia’s transport minister made an official plea to her federal counterpart Wednesday to quickly make airlines provide more details on travellers to aid contact tracing efforts that could help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Concerns about the level of detail airlines provide have been greatest in B.C., where the provincial health officer has lamented a lack of movement from federal officials.

WATCH: COVID-19: DR. BONNIE HENRY SAYS NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT MASKS IN CLASSROOMS | VANCOUVER SUN

In a letter to Transport Minister Marc Garneau, the B.C. government noted the information the province has received from airlines is “not necessarily complete and is sometimes unusable.”

B.C. Transport Minister Claire Trevena said the data often includes the names of travel agencies that booked flights, a frequent flyer number, or the person who booked the ticket but not necessarily the name and contact information of the person who actually flew on the plane.

She urged the government to “ensure the data gathered is usable and traces back to the individual traveller directly,” rather than simply listing flights with a positive COVID-19 case.

“We have come so far together as a country with much success to curb the spread of COVID-19,” reads the letter. A copy was provided to The Canadian Press.

“As we restart our economy, however, we want to ensure all passengers and communities remain safe and that nobody is put at risk due to any oversight.”

The two were scheduled to speak later in the day.

Federal officials are trying to sort out how much information airlines should provide, and how the data should flow to provincial and territorial health authorities as they track down anyone who may have been on a flight with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

Mike McNaney, president of the National Airlines Council of Canada, said in a statement that flight information is provided when requested, “per established procedures for communicable diseases” and usually in less than 24 hours.

“Our members are fully committed to protecting public safety,” the statement said.

The divide in talks between Ottawa and the airlines appears to fall along whether phone numbers or email addresses are enough, or if residential addresses, for instance, should also be part of any handover.

A federal government official told The Canadian Press on Wednesday the issue revolves around information collected for domestic flights, with one of the hurdles being finding an agreement that satisfies all parties involved.

The official was not authorized to speak on the record because efforts are being headed by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The federal health agency already requires airlines to provide information on travellers arriving on international flights, who are subject to strict quarantine rules.

Public health officials tried to trace contacts for every person early on in the pandemic, but those efforts slowed as people were ordered to stay home or quarantine, and as travel dropped.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Tuesday there could be improvements to the data that airlines provide, noting flight manifests lack all sorts of details that make it difficult to reach people in certain seats.

Tam also said there hasn’t been a confirmed case of in-flight transmission.

“Very few of our cases actually come from travellers at the moment,” she said. “But now that our case numbers have gone down, there’s been more interest in why don’t we follow some of these planes and see if there’s been any contact at all that’s been exposed or transmitted.”

The federal health agency she leads referred further questions to Transport Canada.

Air operators have to record the names of everyone on board an aircraft, but there is no federal requirement that they submit passenger manifests to Transport Canada, said Livia Belcea, a Garneau spokeswoman.

Belcea referred further questions back to the federal health agency, saying it is responsible for facilitating information-sharing between airlines and provincial health authorities.

NDP transport critic Niki Ashton said the federal government needed to take a harder line on carriers to provide the necessary information for contact tracing.

“Airlines should be making sure that accurate information is being shared as soon as possible and it shouldn’t be up to them to pick and choose how they do it,” she said. “It should be the federal government mandating them.”

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Passenger aboard WestJet flight from Toronto to Montreal infected with COVID-19

 
image.png.73c57f07fc30e5146b4d9139cf0f6ecf.pnga large passenger jet flying through the air on a cloudy day: A passenger aboard WestJet Flight 592 from Toronto to Montreal on Friday was found to be positive for COVID-19.© CBC A passenger aboard WestJet Flight 592 from Toronto to Montreal on Friday was found to be positive for COVID-19.

A passenger aboard a WestJet flight from Toronto to Montreal on Friday was found to be positive for COVID-19, the airline says.

WestJet says it was advised by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) of the positive case before Flight 592 landed in Montreal just before 6:30 p.m.

After it landed, the plane was held at a gate and met by public health personnel and law enforcement, WestJet says.

"Due to the involvement of the authorities, as well as the privacy of our guests, we are not able to provide additional information about the incident at this time," Morgan Bell, spokesperson for WestJet, said in a statement to CBC News on Saturday.

 

The statement also says WestJet will "continue to assist the 57 guests and our crew who were on board."

The passenger did not pass through any airport facilities, a spokesperson from the Montreal Airport said. 

Currently, Quebec does not require domestic travellers coming into the province to go into isolation.

PHAC confirmed that there was a "situation with a passenger" on the WestJet flight and that it is continuing to work with the airline and local ground authorities in Montreal and Toronto. 

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This may not be the most popular post, but I don't think there is any public benefit from these stories.

Affected people are contacted by the appropriate authorities/airline.  That should be the end of it. In this day and age of instant communication, everybody, or most everybody has an email on file, if not a phone number.

I am sure when I go to local grocery store someone at some point has had Covid, or perhaps the local mall. no notification from CBC or other media on that.

All this does is scare people, or was that the intent ???

Also makes me wonder what the purpose of everybody wearing a mask is for ???

The word absurd comes to mind (not for the first time either).

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6 hours ago, AIP said:

This may not be the most popular post, but I don't think there is any public benefit from these stories.

 

I am sure when I go to local grocery store someone at some point has had Covid, or perhaps the local mall. no notification from CBC or other media on that.

 

Also makes me wonder what the purpose of everybody wearing a mask is for ???

 

You are wrong. re the non reporting, at least in Calgary.   😀.........

 https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-new-outbreaks-1.5578104

and more recently: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/fire-and-ice-cactus-club-cafe-outbreaks-covid-19-1.5654516

and BC: https://globalnews.ca/news/7260062/possible-covid-19-exposure-vancouver-locations/

https://globalnews.ca/news/7260234/coronavirus-regina-walmart/

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1 hour ago, AIP said:

Also makes me wonder what the purpose of everybody wearing a mask is for ???

The word absurd comes to mind (not for the first time either).

Seriously, do you wear a seatbelt every time you drive, even though most every time you won’t need it?

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Hi AIP;

First, it isn't about the popularity of posts that counts 😉. If there is disagreement on matters of serious public interest and not merely an exchange of opinions and cocktail chatter, then when challenged, the parties owe each other evidence that supports their expressed views. The evidence as expressed by experts on the subject of masks is strong and widely available/inspectable by all parties regardless of attitudes towards such prophylactics. Wearing a mask in indoor locations where there are other people and outdoor locations where social distancing is not possible is shown to reduce transmission of the virus, as does frequent, proper washing of hands.

People are free to disagree of course, even with airlines' policy on masks, but as you know, they presently don't get to travel if they refuse to comply. People largely accept this new, and appropriate rule of public behaviour.

Don't wear the seatbelt when in a car, smoke in a non-smoking area, don't wear a helmet on a motorcycle, drink/get-high and drive, dump garbage or sewage in public areas, falsify a pilot's licence or aircraft maintenance records? All of these issues are both serious public safety matters and settled regulatory matters. Violate them, and risk the fine and/or jail time.

It is fact, that wearing a mask is more about other people than about oneself. Would you not want your doctor, your surgeon and the nursing staff to wear a mask during operations? Why is that okay, when wearing a mask to limit the spread of COVID-19 is not?

There is no evidence and no counterexamples that support not wearing a mask in the above circumstances, during this public health issue.

Just like honey-badger, coronavirus don't care.

 

Edited by Don Hudson
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1 hour ago, FA@AC said:

It's to prevent transmission of Covid-19.

I heard a good one today. Refusing to make masks mandatory when distancing isn’t possible is like declaring a peeing section in a swimming pool.

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