“Typhoid Mary” Passenger Tried To Fly After Testing Positive For COVID-19

A person in Lansing, Michigan tested positive for COVID-19 and decided to go to the airport anyway. They were under a quarantine order but “attempted to board a plane” but were stopped “after local health officials issued a cease-and-desist order.”

The Ingham County Health Department notified the Capital Region International Airport on Friday afternoon that a person who tested positive for COVID-19 was possibly boarding a flight leaving from Lansing and should be prevented from doing so.

The cease-and-desist order became necessary when the patient did not heed directions to remain quarantined, Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said.

The passenger had actually told health department staff they planned to travel home. They were caught by airport staff prior to the security checkpoint. They left the airport voluntarily, potentially infecting people along the way. The airport, which didn’t have any additional flights that day, closed down for sanitization.

Mary Mallon (“Typhoid Mary”) was a cook infected with typhoid but asymptomatic. She’s believed to have been born with the disease, and it was likely in her gallbladder. She went from home to home, working and infecting people in the home, likely by not washing her hands after using the bathroom. She was forcibly quarantined from 1907 to 1910. She wouldn’t stop working as a cook, or change her hygiene practices (nor have her gallbladder removed), refusing to believe she was the cause of outbreaks. So she was quarantined from 1915 through 1938 when she died although she was permitted to work in other occupations. “Typhoid Mary” is now a term for someone who spreads disease or other undesirable things.

The history of people who ought to know they’re at risk of harming others and either not believing it or not being persuaded to take actions to limit the risk is a long one. Of course we don’t know whether this passenger will wind up a superspreader.

(HT: Paul H.)

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. Here’s the thing – if I test positive in some area like bumfuck Michigan, I will surely try to go home to my major city with adequate hospitals also, just in case my symptoms worsen

    So would most other people. Everyone will try to go to a place with more facilities.

    The person did a completely rational thing, except blabbing about it

  2. Rational if you don’t give a f**k about anyone but yourself. Unfortunately, there are far too many people like this in the world and not enough people who actually think of the greater good.

  3. That’s why, Greg, this will take longer to go away than in any other country, because Americans are self centered, selfish which is evident by your comment.

  4. Lansing is the capital of Michigan so definitely not a bumf*ck unless you are labeling whole state that. There were many people from out of state that came over to Lansing for the protests and could be one of them that is trying to go home as protests are dying out now. No sane person would risk others in an airplane, let alone their family at home unless it’s a selfish non-believer.

  5. And this is why masks should be required on airplanes. If this pax were to sit down next to me and sneeze or cough, woe to me. Granted, masks aren’t perfect, but even the decent 2 layer-tight cotton or 3-layer surgical masks have an approximate 65-70% effective rate. And with each person wearing a mask, those rates of effectiveness increase.

    Sorry, but my health and safety trumps your right to be dickhead.

  6. @Greg Congratulations for making it to the Top Ten Most Idiotic Comments on the inter webs. The awards ceremony will be held in Michigan. Hope you can make it.

  7. i think it was/is in italy that if a person has covid and went out without legal permission (authorization), that they would be guilty of attempted murder? and those who didnt have it but went out without permission, they would be fined 10,000 euro.

    not in ‘murica! “do as i like, land of the free, this aint no bat eatin’ china, them aint the laws here, i aint wearing no god durned mask!”

  8. I am getting so tired of people thinking they’re special, and not giving a sh*t about others,

  9. In some parts of the world, this would be a jail-able offense, something like intentionally endangering public safety.

  10. I’m actually sympathetic to the first commenter in some respects.

    The idea that the government can prevent you from going home, and indeed from moving freely, despite not having committed any wrongdoing, is a scary one.

    Obviously, this is a unique situation with mitigating factors, but I really don’t think it’s as simple as “person is bad and stupid and selfish and (implied) I’m surely much better than him”.

  11. Greg. The standards of care are fairly uniform across the US. So you are an idiot.

    And a selfish cluck to boot. Wishing you and trump COVID-19. Becuase people like you deserve it.

  12. Hey look, it took 8 whole comments for some TDS victim to drag presidential politics into this thread. Mom is proud of little keithy.

    Gary, you ought to post your grandma’s secret apple pie recipe just to see how long it would take before some victim like keith would respond with a political comment.

  13. I cannot believe I just actually read Greg’s comment and that he actually posted that! Yes, we would all want to get home but potentially killing other people in the process is unbelievable! What is wrong with people?

  14. Greg is just out to stir up trouble and get attention. I actually kind of feel sorry for people that seem to get joy from doing that, Probably stays quiet and cowering in the corner when not nameless and protected.

  15. And to those of you that see nothing wrong with Keith Helldoge comment, one word: KARMA. Careful Mr. Helldoge.

  16. Greg, you are ignorant to call a Michigan that, in what wonderful state do you live?
    Keith, I thought Greg’s comment was horrible until I read yours.

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