Holy Cow: Half Of Employees Tested At Orlando Airport Are Positive For COVID-19

Update: The airport is correcting the governor’s claim about a 52% positivity rate at the airport, that only 2 people tested positive in this round, and he’s confusing the total number of people at the airport who tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic.

Florida reported that 260 out of 500 employees at Orlando International Airport (MCO) tested positive for the novel coronavirus. They did widespread testing at the airport as a result of a handful of cases there, followed up by contact tracing. The 52% positivity rate is huge, but – without more information about the specific roles involved – makes sense for indoor air conditioned environment.

These numbers are part of 2780 new cases in Florida reported Tuesday. Florida is aggressively testing, with approximately 30,000 tests per day, but their positivity rate remains above 5% and is higher than it was a month ago. Case counts don’t appear to be just a function of ‘doing more tests’.

Like in Texas, Arizona, Alabama and a handful of other states there’s significant recent growth in reported cases, however hospitalizations in Florida (and Texas) do not appear to be overwhelming hospitals at this point.

TSA agents were specifically at risk of catching the virus early in the pandemic, so it’s not surprising to see case clusters among other airport workers too. However without a release of more information about the clusters, it’s difficult to evaluate risk to passengers who may have flown through the airport or understand how the virus spread in this cluster.

Credit: Orlando International Airport

The latest information on the airport website is that ‘Orlando International Airport Welcomes Back Passengers’. Ahem. Mere days ago the airport was promoting “a ray of sunlight has peeked above the horizon after a dark pandemic night that for a scary time seemed without end.” Florida is one of the key markets driving a resurgence in domestic leisure travel.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. More reason to stay home for now. This virus isn’t something that you want to pretend is over.

  2. That is great news. We are getting closer to herd immunity. Chinese virus infection numbers are irrelevant. Hospitalization due to the virus is a critical number. As long as that number stays as low as it is, we are doing okay.

  3. This headline and article are completely wrong.

    Check the official MCO airport twitter – official statement there. Around half of the 260 number of positive tests are contacts/connections of people that work at the airport. Not people working at the airport themselves.

    Slow down and get the facts, Gary. It’s not hard.

  4. How many were symptomatic? Hospitalized? Dead? This thing is more communicable but less deadly than originally feared.The sooner we learn to live with this thing the better. No one wants to get sicks but the alternative is gone at this point. Shutdowns are over. A vaccine is, at best, 6-12 months away ASSUMING anybody actually agrees to take it. Hopefully treatments emerge which give the sick a much better chance of surviving. Wash hands, wear masks(yuck), sequester and protect the elderly and sick and we push through it, for better or worse.

  5. @ Geoff — I agree with your conclusion, but as long as our idiot President refuses to implement nationwide, broad-based testing of everyone, we just won’t know. That leaves us little choice but to be overly cautious.

  6. I posted this on another blog… but, it turns out it isn’t 260 people…. it’s two (2).

    The breathless race to get a ‘scoop’ or post a story, leads to awful outcomes for the public.

    No vetting, no research, just quoting other people.
    The damage gets done – people think the world is ending – even if it turns out ‘whoops, yeah, it’s 2 people, not 260’

    I hope the day comes when media companies are held responsible for awful reporting like this.
    Everyone wants CLICKS – but no one does any work, or takes a moment to check facts.
    ‘well, it came from the government, so it must be right, and I can just copy and paste and make money’

    Yes, I believe 50% of employees at an airport got CV magically, all at once. That makes sense…
    You guys have to use SOME facts or logic here. SOME. Just a tiny bit.

    God, society has to demand better from the media – blogs included.

  7. and 10 pct of them have an uncle named Bob and 20 pct of them eat at mc donalds once a week and half of them were born outside of florida
    what is the point of telling how many people contracted the virus when the vast majority of them wouldn’t even know it without the test?

    @Geoff +1

  8. @Gene, agree to an extent. I think the US is testing north of 500K people daily now(yes, too late). Yes, my number could be off:)
    @doug: Thx:)

  9. In view of the update invalidating the entire story how about just taking this article down instead of leaving it up as Clickbait?

  10. Appears people really didn’t read the article. It was 2 people that tested positive.

  11. Yup, 2 People as reported by many above, call it typical fake liberal news, or just mis-information/reporting. Wouldnt surprise me either way. Cant believe anything these days..

  12. Thankfully, a couple of people on this thread (Geoff for one) display a practical common sense vs. the nauseating and irrational fear that seems to have captured so many. As for information related to this government-induced, media-inflamed debacle, the facts have been out there for anyone to find. This article is a gold mine of just that info with each fact backed up by multiple references: https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/lockdown-lunacy-the-thinking-persons-guide/ This shutdown and the psychological war on people is an ongoing crime.

  13. Great Fake News reporting Gary, once again. LOL.
    But, but, but… Orange Man Bad, Orange Man Bad, Orange Man Bad.

  14. If nobody gets tested and only 0.5% of cases die, there’s nothing to worry about right?

  15. “260 out of 500 employees at Orlando International Airport (MCO) tested positive for the novel coronavirus.” – the article you linked actually says that not all of the 260 people were airport employees some of them are family members of employees and that is the number from over several months. Yes, texas and florida has hospital space still, of course in Arizona some hospitals have run out of ICU beds. Worth mentioning that there is no cure for this virus so all the bed space in the world isn’t going to save some people. I see politicians in Texas suggesting that if they have bed space its ok to keep opening. The more the virus spreads the more than will die. That is a fact. The bed space isn’t going to stop that.

  16. I blame that leather muppet they call Governor. He clearly misrepresented the statistics and broadcast flawed information.

  17. Gary,

    such a pathetic loser you are. Not even the decency to apologize to readers for your erroneous reporting. Lacking integrity it’s just all about click bait for you. Shame.

  18. @ryby – excuse me? I accurately reported what Florida’s governor said, and I quickly – while in a video meeting on which I was speaking – put an update at the top of the piece when the airport came out with their statement, which wasn’t available when I posted this.

  19. Not surprising with the inaccuracy…this is the same state that is under-reporting cases/deaths

  20. @gleff

    You really should correct your title and perhaps redact the rest of your post. Once the clarifications came out, the body of your post is *no longer* correct and shouldn’t stand. What’s the point of reading it if you know it to be incorrect? I say this not because I’m illiterate, but you tend to be long winded and full of background when you write. I’m sure I’m not the only one who skims your posts for the important bits, which you almost always put toward the bottom.

  21. The USA seems to be riddled with the virus and people are ignoring the social distancing requests and not wearing masks . It will spread more . The Federal and State systems seem to be at loggerheads with each other and non Americans like me , just have a problem understanding why some Americans are so laid back about Covid 19 People really need to stay home .

  22. @ Kathleen

    Florida records 40 times the death rate of Australia and the USA as a whole close to 100 times and NY State 400 times the death rate from COVID-19 and you haven’t even hit the mid-point. That is the difference that lock-down makes.

    Dream on kiddo – keep swigging that bleach…utterly deluded. Heading for 200,000 plus deaths – how any sane person can find that acceptable?

    So sad to see a great country tear itself apart.

  23. Gary, please delete this post with it’s false headline. Then do a new post with the Accurate headline. Will be much clearer to people.

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