Tips so that Ómicron does not prevent us from traveling safely by plane – CVBJ

12/31/2021 at 4:12 p.m. CET

The sixth wave of coronavirus, marked by the Omicron variant, forces the whole world to protect themselves this Christmas.

The new strain is gaining ground and is predominant in infections that have arisen in recent weeks, many of them diagnosed during antigen tests acquired at a drugstore.

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However, life does not end. And in large part thanks to the effectiveness of vaccines: 37 million Spaniards are already vaccinated with the full regimen. And thanks to these bites, although we have some evidence that Ómicron is highly contagious, we remain hopeful that it will trigger less serious illness.

If we compare the current data, the number of intensive care beds occupied during this month of December by COVID patients is 18.68%. Last Christmas, that figure was 20%. A slight decrease which could indicate a favorable evolution of SARS-CoV-2.

But this has only just begun and the consequences of this Christmas will not be quantified until around January 10. And this is why some Autonomous Communities are already taking measures to slow the progression of the disease: Seven regions have already imposed restrictions on reception and nightlife hours.

And other countries have closed borders for the unvaccinated, or left stadiums empty, or closed bars and restaurants until January 14 & mldr; Everything to try to flatten an alarming contagion curve, even if vaccines seem to soften, and much, the consequences.

In Spain, for the moment mobility is allowed throughout the territory and, who else, who less, will have to use the public transport to meet their loved ones. That is why nowadays the main stations of our country are crowded with people traveling from place to place to celebrate these holidays with their loved ones.

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What is the risk of contagion on board an airplane?

Although the plane is the safest form of transportation, the passengers are twice and even three times more likely to contract Covid-19 during a flight. This was assured by David Powell, physician and medical adviser of the International Air Transport Association of the United States.

This is mainly due to the high transmissibility of the new strain. With previous mutations, the hospital-grade air filters available on planes, along with other safety measures such as masks and hand hygiene, served as a parapet, and the risk of contagion was no greater than in other everyday situations.

“The relative risk has probably increased, as has the risk of going to the supermarket or taking the bus,” Powell told Bloomberg.

What can be done to minimize the risks?

Well, the recommendations are the same as when you walk into a public establishment like a supermarket or a movie theater, or when you are at work.

– Avoid touching common contact surfaces.

– Use a mask at all times.

– Avoid removing it at the same time as the passenger next to you during meals.

The expert stresses that in order to keep the risk of contagion on board an aircraft as low as possible, it is important to wash your hands frequently and keep your distance when boarding.

Of course, Powell insists, “It’s not about stopping flying, it’s about getting the shot and getting the booster dose.”

What to do during meals?

The former Air New Zeland chief medical officer is clear. For a two-hour flight, it’s easy to urge all passengers not to remove their masks at any time, however, in the 10-hour flight, for example, that’s impossible.

“What most airlines do is encourage, but not insist, customers to stagger their time without a mask & rdquor;.

“Two people wearing a mask have minimal transmission from one to the other. If you remove it, that person has a higher risk of transmission and a slightly higher risk of getting infected. But if both do not wear it, obviously there is no barrier and COVID can be transmitted freely, ” the expert specifies.

As for leaving the center seats empty, Powell says he doesn’t think it’s a measure that actually reduces the risk of contagion among passengers.

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