Video Shows That The Few People Flying Are… Wearing Hazmat Suits?

A United flight diverted when passengers become unruly over someone sneezing on board when most COVID-19 patients don’t sneeze or have runny noses. The primary symptoms are dry cough and fever.

There appears to be very little asymptomatic transmission of the novel coronavirus. People are staying away from planes out of fear, but that doesn’t seem necessary inside most of the United States at this point. While there are usually crowds at airports and people are packed together on board, right now there aren’t that many people much of the time.

Still a Milwaukee man arrived at the airport in a full hazmat suit and took a flight to Fort Myers on Saturday. The man explained that he has Crohn’s disease and worries about the impact of the virus on his immune system.

He didn’t buy the hazmat suit just for the flight – he happened to have it from going as Breaking Bad‘s Walter White for Halloween.

This was the man’s spring break trip. He does not plan to wear protective gear on the beach. The suit after all is hot. He used ice to keep cool inflight, but it seems like he would have had to take off his suit for that, defeating the purpose of his protective measures.

China’s and South Korea’s case growth has largely subsided though that doesn’t guarantee there won’t be a second wave. Containment in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan appears to be working. There’s nowhere as problematic right now as Northern Italy and Iran. Northern Italy’s death rates are concerning (older age of population and hospitalizations overtaking medical capacity) and I don’t believe Iran’s low numbers.

In the U.S. spread is almost certainly much greater than reported. In addition to getting a very slow start with testing and still being nowhere close to South Korea’s drive-through testing centers, I noted yesterday that there appears to be a shortage of the chemicals necessary to process the tests.

United’s extreme planning seems to make sense, although I’m still flying this week.

(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, 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. Again, stupid. People need to be concerned with the elderly population, hence the action Italy has taken. I have a number of family members in the research and medical community around the country and state that this ISN”T what people need to be panicking about.

  2. Apparently there are plenty of tests available – the issue it seems: “The chemical used to isolate the virus’ genetic material, or RNA, so that it can be tested. As well as another chemical that is used to store the RNA after separation (partially paraphrased).
    Demand for the same chemicals is probably amplified by global demand and use.

    Just another reason we need to reshore our most critical industries and dependencies.

    A vast majority of generics are manufactured in India with Chinese chemical precursors and ingredients.

    I think it was Skynews (UK) that stated India’s government may shutdown exporting of many generics to ensure ample supply in country – Generic Rx as well as OTC (not sure if it is Global generic Rx or the EU/UK).

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