In my home town schools are back in person, at least for those families that want to send their kids.
While data on school re-openings in the U.S. seems to show little linkage to super spreader events, I worry that they may not be taking sufficient precautions.
If a student tests positive for Covid-19, they have to stay home. But if they have a sibling in the school system, that other child is probably being exposed on an ongoing basis. Yet that kid keeps going to school.
In general those with significant close contact to people who have tested positive for the virus are supposed to quarantine. There are exceptions for certain essential personnel.
There’s no shortage of flight attendants, though, in a world where airlines are operating only half of their flights. United and American have furloughed thousands. So why aren’t flight attendants exposed to people positive with the virus quarantining?
A London-based flight attendant who worked United Airlines flight UA15 from London Heathrow to Newark on Tuesday tested positive for Covid-19. That flight attendant quarantined at an airport hotel.
As I understand it the 8 London crew were supposed to work United flight UA829 from Newark to Mumbai the next day. They were taken off that four-day trip. The next day, I’m told, four of the eight tried to deadhead back to London Heathrow the next day but the flight’s Captain refused to carry them as passengers. So they traveled back on Thursday. Others pass rode back to Europe.
I asked United why passengers from the flight weren’t notified of their exposure and why the other flight attendants were allowed to deadhead back to Heathrow rather than quarantining themselves?
According to United,
The health and safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority, which is why we have various policies and procedures as part of a multi-layered approach to create a safer travel environment. We follow the direction of governmental health authorities, including the CDC, who make the determination whether or not to contact anyone who was in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
Flying seems to represent minimal risk (though perhaps airports themselves are greater risk) and a majority of people who test positive for the virus don’t seem to spread it – a small percentage, perhaps 10% – 20%, are responsible for 80% of cases. And had the Captain accepted these flight attendants the next day they probably wouldn’t have been infectious even if they’d caught the virus the previous day. Nonetheless I’d expect passengers would be concerned to know they were traveling with airline employees who had been exposed to the virus on a prior trip.