A new study concluded that the middle seat, if it was empty, reduces the risk of an epidemic spreading on board the plane, even if medical masks are not worn, according to the “New York Times” newspaper.
The researchers said in the study that this step reduces the passenger’s risk of exposure to the virus floating in the air by between 23 and 57 percent.
The study was based on a simulation experiment to find out how the epidemic particles spread in the plane.
A mechanical engineer at the University of Kansas and the lead author of the study, Byron Jones, said that taking a better distance to avoid exposure to virus particles, and this is true in airplanes and cinemas.
Harvard School of Public Health respiratory expert Joseph Allen said it was important to know how particles traveled in the air.
He added that he was surprised to see such results now appear, which means that the middle seats must remain empty to reduce the risk of the Corona outbreak.
He pointed out that there is an observation on the study, which is that it did not include masks, which is the most effective way to reduce aerosols.
Although scientists have documented several cases of transmission of the Coronavirus on airplanes, aircraft cabins are generally considered low-risk environments because they are characterized by air purification.
The recent study was published in a weekly epidemiological journal published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study was based on data collected by Kansas State University in 2017, that is, before the outbreak of the Corona epidemic.
In the study, researchers sprayed harmless viruses through two different fake rooms for aircraft, and then researchers monitored how the virus spread in each cabin.
In the new study, researchers at the University of Kansas and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used this data in modeling to find out how passengers would be exposed to the virus, if the middle seat remained empty.
They concluded that keeping the middle seats vacant reduced the total number of exposed passengers tested in the simulation by 23 to 57 percent, compared to a fully occupied flight.