representing empty middle seat on Airplane

COVID: How Keeping Middle Seat Empty on Airplanes Can Reduce COVID-19 Spread?

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Remember the time when we were leading a normal life?no masks to wear, no sanitizers to be applied. The time when we could hug and shake hands with people.The time when we never knew what was social distancing. It was the time when we never feared catching a virus. It was also the time when we often neglected to wash our hands before eating. Now can you imagine not washing your hand after coming from outside? Even the thought of it seems unimaginable. When we think about our pre-pandemic life it feels like a dream. It feels like we were living with this virus throughout our lives.

We were seeing many posts about a rare virus that was spreading around people in china. Like many, I even thought that this was a rumor and ignored it. But suddenly at once this virus outbreak happened and changed our lives completely. I am sure that now, no person in this world is unaware of the covid-19 pandemic(unless you are a toddler, probably even a toddler might know that there is something called covid). When this whole pandemic happened, we at once rushed and started searching about the tips and tricks to stay away from covid. We all assumed that this pandemic would not last long and that knowing a few tips and tricks to stay away from covid would be sufficient to save us from this pandemic. Who knew that the tips and tricks to stay away from the covid that we followed would become the way we lead our life usually, now.

The covid-19 pandemic began around early December 2019, where its first cases had connections to a wholesale market in Wuhan, China. Since then it has spread all over the world. People didn’t take this virus very seriously in the beginning. Only around the end of February and starting of march, people understood the severity of this virus. This virus caused a major hit on the GDP of the developing countries and has pushed the healthcare services to the edge of collapse.               

We as humans have always traveled. Once we found out the ways of traveling, we have become unstoppable since then. Traveling has now become an essential requirement. As a result, the travel agencies hold a value of billions of dollars. Of all the traveling modes, traveling by air is one of the most popular ones. People around the globe board flights for domestic traveling and international. As it is easier, safer and now through some smart decisions they have made flight tickets economically viable too. new flights are being made and exported regularly. The airlines are constantly broadening their business by making traveling possible from every nook and corner of the world.

Countries across the globe transport oil barrels, medicines, raw materials, food commodities from one corner to the other. Many people’s work-life revolves around traveling across the globe to attend meetings for making business decisions. So when traveling has become such a necessity, it seems like an impossible task to avoid. It is now a business that involves billions of dollars and millions of jobs are associated with it. So a government cannot seize traveling as it would lead to great losses and also create a state of unemployment. This can also lead to a country’s GDP collapsing. This will create a domino effect as due to low GDB, countries cannot provide essential health services to their people, which will lead to a  great loss of lives.

What I just said is happening right now. The world was not ready for such a pandemic. So was our government too. The GDB of many developing countries dropped so low that it caused a massive loss of lives. During such a pandemic, we must have had good health care services. But as this virus was spreading quickly, there was a rush in these health care services which lead to people dying as they were deprived of care and necessary medication during the attack of the virus.

In such a drastic time, traveling is not what we usually think of at first. But as this pandemic continued for too long, it was impossible to seize traveling across the globe. All the countries are dependent on each other. We import and export essential goods in large quantities to many countries around the world. So when there is a pandemic that stays for so long, we cannot expect to put a full stop to all such activities as this will ultimately lead to a negative impact.

When the covid pandemic started, governments were ignorant about its adverse effects. Months passed. As there was no proper solid evidence of that virus, in the beginning, most people were unaware of its existence. So they kept traveling and the normal activities continued till February. Only when such cases were recorded in other countries also, did people wake to its effects. so suddenly, everything came to a full stop. All the countries banned domestic and international traveling. So people who had traveled to other countries were now stuck there and they couldn’t go back home. So the government had to take some precautions and start transportation faster so that people can go back to the countries they belong to. So in this process, some rules were set up to avoid the maximum spread of the virus.

As many people preferred flights to reach their destination, special rules were set up that had to be followed by the airline to avoid maximum transmission of the covid. So here are the rules that were suggested by health care services and imposed by the governments.

Keeping the middle seat empty:

A flight is a closed body where there is no space for ventilation. If people were filled in the flights similar to pre covid time, then this would become the hub of virus transmission. But, as the flights are already pre-designed, there are no ways that we could rearrange the seats specializing for covid conditions. This would just not be economically viable and will be time-consuming if they were redesigned. So an international flight usually contains three seats attached. A flight usually contains three rows containing a group of three seats attached. So the ideal way of maintaining a good distance would be to leave the middle seat. As it would ensure minimum distance is maintained between the passengers. Even though this distance is not the ideal distance to be maintained. It is the maximum distance that can be maintained while traveling in a flight.

You might wonder why should a middle seat be wasted, especially when there are lakhs of people wanting to return to their homes? Why can’t this be avoided by just wearing a mask? Your question is a valid one. According to studies, even if someone wears a face mask and sits beside you, he might still infect you. A mask is successful in shielding against only a certain percentage of viruses which might spread through droplets. there is still a high chance that the person might infect you. so, you must maintain a certain distance to reduce your chances of catching the virus.

Temperature check and scanning:

representing temperature scanning for covid-19

When you enter the airport multiple kinds of scans are done according to the guidelines suggested by the health care services. Your temperature is checked as soon as you enter the airport. This is to ensure that you aren’t infected by the virus. At this stage, you are also asked about your medical history because this will decide the kind of place you will be quarantined. As a person, who has a medical history of diabetes, cancer, bp will have a major risk of losing life, he is quarantined in a place where adequate medical care services are available. Even though an asymptomatic person might pass these procedures, It is still helpful in decreasing the number of infected passengers boarding the flight.

You are quarantined for 14 days mandatorily:

If you are someone who has just taken an international flight then you are mandatorily quarantined for 14 days and then tested for covid. Only when you test covid negative, you will be sent free. As the covid-19 virus takes a maximum of 2 weeks to show symptoms, you are mandatorily quarantined. So that even if you are asymptomatic, you will be restricted from spreading it to others. This procedure is ensured by the airport officers, where they set up quarantine rooms with medical assistance. So if this procedure is followed successfully, the major transmission of the virus can be avoided.

Masks and usage of sanitizers are mandatory:

covid safety precautions illustration

When you board a flight it is ensured that you have your mask and face shield put on. As this not only protects people getting infected from you but also you from getting infected by another passenger. Sanitizers are provided at regular intervals and are advised to be used regularly to avoid the transmission of viruses due to contact with a different object.

If you are someone who has searched how keeping middle seats in an airplane will reduce covid? Then you might be wanting some deep insight on this topic. Even though I had explained it earlier, let me brief you more about this topic. Let me start by answering some of your probable questions.

Why isn’t just masks sufficient?

Even though the CDC guidelines push you to wear a mask wherever you travel, it does not promise to give complete protection. Different masks are being manufactured these days, that it is difficult to examine and govern companies to make masks that provide maximum protection. Usually, the N95 mask is what provides maximum protection from the virus. But because the manufacturing cost is too high and as it is being manufactured at a low pace. It was largely supplied to health care professionals who were dealing with covid 19 patients rather than common people. Also, as many people could not afford to buy these expensive full protection masks, they usually preferred buying cloth or surgical masks. Some of them even have DIY masks. but the harsh truth is that these masks provide little to no protection from that virus. An ideal mask is something that has 3 layers and is capable of filtering the air from water droplets. Also, another reason why masks aren’t sufficient while traveling on flights is that the spaces between the seats are very few (at least in economy seats). You hardly get armrest space when you sit in those seats. 

Why is traveling allowed during a Covid pandemic?

Traveling During Covid - 19

It is easy for you to raise this question sitting at your home capable of working from home at your convenience. But lakhs of people during the beginning of the lockdown were suffering as they were away from their homes and were stuck in an unknown country. In them were thousands of students, who had just begin studying abroad. These students were mostly from developing countries and were those who were paying their bills by working as part-time workers in shopping malls, restaurants, and fast food centers. Now because of the pandemic, they have lost their work and are stuck in an unknown country. So it became essential to send them back to their countries safely. So at such times, traveling becomes necessary. Also, many people were facing huge losses as they weren’t able to travel for their work. So at such conditions, the government tried imposing guidelines that ensured maximum protection during traveling

What about the people who have gotten vaccinated?

Man getting Vaccinated (injection) by doctor

As of now, many vaccinations for this virus have been made. These vaccinations are largely being supplied across the world. Many people have begun taking this vaccination. These vaccinations are taken in two doses between a fixed period. For example, if you are taking Covishield, then after 4-6 weeks you are suggested to take the second dose of vaccination. Only after two doses of vaccination and 2weeks after being fully vaccinated, you build resistance against the virus. This was about the Covishield vaccine. Like Covishied many other vaccinations are being launched like a Co-vaccine, sputnik-19, etc. 

According to the CDC Guidelines for Fully Vaccinated People, they can travel internationally and domestically, without having to quarantine for 14 days.

Our world is going through this drastic period where every day still, lakhs of people are being affected by this virus. During this pandemic, huge live losses were seen and this situation is still continuing. So for the sake of humanity, we need to be sensitive about this situation and gain as much awareness as possible to keep ourselves, our family, and our surrounding people safe.

Hope this article helped you in gaining some insight on this pandemic.

Read This Blog: Why is it necessary to take double doses of Some COVID-19 Vaccines?

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