Is the Emptier the Better?

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Penelope Rolley, Staff

In the article Empty Middle Seats on Planes Cut Coronavirus Risk in Study, from New York Times by Emily Anthes, the topic of what is to be done with seating arrangements on airplanes was discussed. From a medical standpoint, to leave the middle seat in a plane open greatly contributes to the safety of its passengers, with the only obstacle being the cost benefits for the airline. 

“Keeping the middle seats vacant during a flight could reduce passengers’ exposure to airborne Coronavirus by 23 to 57 percent….” Although this reduces the risk by a percentage that is already satisfactory, it hasn’t even considered them wearing masks, which is also an enforced rule. However, even with the research and strong air filtration systems , people are still understandably concerned about the risks of airplane travel. In 2017, Kansas State University sprayed a harmless aerosolized virus through two mock airplane cabins, each one having different aisle layouts, and watched as the virus distributed through the cabin. For a new study, they used the data to demonstrate how exposure to Covid would change and play out with every middle seat empty in a 20-row single-aisle cabin.

Considering all the information that was just presented, we can more understand and feel more comfortable when getting back into the groove of things, even if it might not be exactly what it was before 2020. As long as people wear their masks correctly, get the vaccine if they can, and respect the guidelines that are given, then we should start to get back to normal soon, for there is infact a light at the end of the tunnel, and it is becoming ever more visible.

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