IATA medical advisor Dr David Powell feels that Omicron could increase the risk of infection on board a plane by as much as two or three times when compared with other COVID-19 variants.
Even though Omicron appears to be more transmissible than other types under all circumstances, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) now clarifies that the aircraft cabin remains a very low-risk setting for spreading Covid-19.
Passenger seating arrangement, masking, and better sanitary processes are just a few of the features of aircraft design that contribute to a low-risk environment, according to the study.
As the number of Omicron cases increases worldwide, IATA advice to travellers remains “unchanged and even more vital,” according to the organisation.
According to Dr Powell, plane cabins are still far safer than other busy interior environments, but masks are still a vital tool to save yourself and others from getting sick.
At the beginning of the pandemic, health professionals and politicians began pressing us to wear face masks.
We were asked to wear reusable cloth masks at the time since there was a limited quantity of disposable surgical masks and more protective medical-grade masks that needed to be conserved for front-line healthcare personnel.
Even though reusable fabric masks had not been tested for effectiveness, they were designed to protect others around us by trapping potentially contagious droplets inside the mask rather than giving much protection to the wearer.
High-quality single-use masks that truly provide a fair level of protection are now widely available, but far too many people continue to wear low-quality, single-layer fabric masks.
Is it time to upgrade our face masks now that Omicron is so much more transmissible on planes, and if so, to what? Here’s a rundown of the numerous sorts of masks listed on government medical websites.
Typical Surgical Mask
Purchasing a supply of surgical-style masks is the simplest and most likely cheapest option to improve your mask. Most aren’t offered as medical-grade masks, but they provide far more protection than cloth masks.
One of the most common criticisms made about regular surgical masks is that they frequently have a poor fit and can leave large gaps around the sides of the face, particularly in smaller adults. That problem can be easily rectified by double masking, which is a well-known remedy approved by scientists and medical authorities.
This mask is part of a popular line of high-quality masks that are meant to give the wearer 94 per cent protection. The problem with these masks is that they are typically identified by letter and number codes that are regularly but incorrectly used interchangeably.
The FFP2 mask is next, which is a popular mask among Europeans who are used to using them for ordinary day-to-day activities. FFP stands for Filtering Face Piece, and they are manufactured and approved in Europe under the official standard EN 149. It has conventional ear loops that make it comfortable and simple to wear. A correctly fitted FFP2 mask is meant to deliver 94 per cent filtration.
A KN95 mask is a typical design associated with an FFP2 mask in Australia. A mask has been certified as KN95, FFP2 and KN95 as part of the testing procedure. This permits the producer to sell the mask in multiple markets, but only if the mask fulfils the minimal design, quality, and testing standards. Unfortunately, there are a number of fakes out there.
If you need significant protection, an N95 mask is a good option. The name comes from the fact that they are certified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH for short. They are developed and certified to have a 95 per cent filtering capability. NIOSH manages the N95 certification process, and there are literally hundreds of N95 mask variants that are officially certified and on the market. N95 masks should ideally be fit evaluated, however, the average customer does not have access to this process.