COVID Risk for Air Travel?
There’s good news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 while traveling via air: The agency found that for healthy people, it’s very low if properly wearing a mask and socially distancing. According to the CDC website: “Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19.” (bit.ly/2HprLln) The CDC adds that it’s the repeated exposure on the way to the airport—waiting in security lines, taking your mask off to eat at the airport, the transportation that you use to get there—that increases the risk of transmission, and the agency advises travelers to take the necessary precautions to avoid spreading it. Obviously, don’t travel if you’re sick or have conditions that put you at higher risk, and nothing is fail-safe, but it’s reasonable for healthy people to travel.
This coincides with a report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that cited practical studies done by Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer (bit.ly/3mdlgAN). Using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) research, which replicated the flow of particles through the cabin, the manufactures found similar results: “Aircraft airflow systems, High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, the natural barrier of the seatback, the downward flow of air, and high rates of air exchange efficiently reduce the risk of disease transmission on board in normal times.” Fresh air is actually circulated throughout the cabin at a higher rate than most offices. With the addition of a well-fitting mask, it makes air travel among the lower risk activities.
Sources: CDC, IATA, Business Travel News
GBTA Poll Shows Corporate Travel to Return in ’21
The majority of Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) companies expect their employees to return to in-person events in 2021, according to a poll conducted by the association between September 15-19. Almost half (45 percent) expect attendance to resume in the first half of the year, with an additional 25 percent expecting a return to in-person events in the second half of 2021.
While most do not expect their companies to host in-person meetings, events, or conferences through the remainder of this year, there is growing optimism for 2021, with 37 percent expecting to host some or many meetings or events in Q1, rising to 61 percent by Q2. An average of one in four GBTA members still remain unsure, echoing the general “wait and see” approach due to the current uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
Expectations on company plans to return to the office vary with 1 in 5 (20 percent) reporting a return in 2020. One in three (35 percent) plan to return in the first half of next year, including 28 percent who expect to return in Q1, but one in five 21 percent are still undecided. The poll also found that 16 percent of member companies have already returned to the office.
In a more recent poll conducted between October 12-16, travel buyers cite government restrictions and policies as the biggest barrier to travel. In the poll, 63 percent of European GBTA members and 43 percent globally cite restrictions and policies, such as quarantine and entry restrictions, as the greatest barrier to travel. Additionally, company policy (32 percent) was cited as the next impediment, with employee unwillingness/reluctance to travel (9 percent) and company cost savings (6 percent) to a lesser extent. “The need for government support for business travel suppliers is evident. GBTA is collaborating with other industry associations, industry bodies, and supplier members to lobby governments in each of the key business travel regions for more financial support and a swift, safe return to business travel,” said GBTA Interim Executive Director Dave Hilfman. View the September poll results here: bit.ly/31yAgS0
View the October poll results here: bit.ly/35rCHH4
EPA Approves Common Household Cleaners to Destroy COVID
Remember when everyone was clamoring for Lysol wipes and spray in the spring, leading to an international shortage? Now that scientists have learned more about the virus, additional—and common—household cleaners have been added to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus (bit.ly/31xjKBL). Among those on the list are disinfectants that contain quaternary ammonium, which is found in Lysol, Clorox, and Lonza brand products; bleach; hydrogen peroxide; isopropyl alcohol (at least 70 percent); and even PineSol. Many will also be effective against other virus such as the rhinovirus, the bug behind the common cold. These products should only be used to disinfect non-porous surfaces, and should be used in accordance with EPA guidance. Solutions will need to remain on surfaces for a specified period of time in order to kill the virus, many need to be diluted, and not all products are suitable for all surfaces. But at least you no longer have to worry about watching for Lysol wipes in your Amazon wish list.
You’re all professionals, but it is a good reminder to properly store these products away from accidental kicking or spilling when not in use as calls to poison control centers have gone up drastically during the pandemic. Also, some products may need to be stored in their original containers and at certain temperatures to maintain their efficacy. For example, bleach can degrade certain plastics and can lose its strength if stored in temperatures above 70 degrees or below 50 degrees—oh, and it can expire.
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