Despite the varying public opinions, researchers worldwide remain adamant about the considerable risks of the COVID-19 and continue to encourage organizations to take necessary precautions to reduce the spread of the virus. The situation in the United States is steadily deteriorating, with an average of new cases of over 60,000 a day in the week starting July 13, 2020. The sudden increase in COVID incidents has pushed the US airlines to tighten their belts and take preventative action.

“Starting July 20, customers who indicate they have an underlying condition that prevents them from wearing a mask are required to complete a “Clearance-To-Fly” process before being permitted to travel, for everyone’s safety,” announced Delta. The process is required for each individual trip and takes up to an hour to complete, explicitly aimed at passengers who falsely claim to have health problems that prevent them from wearing face coverage.

But the masks are merely a piece of the COVID preventative measures puzzle as a German study found that passengers are most at risk of infection when boarding and disembarking. Aside from requirements to wear masks at touchpoints, the study results suggest a desperate need for increased sanitation. United Airlines took note and is currently working to maximize the airflow volume of its carriers beginning July 27. It aims to add an additional layer of protection by maintaining the filtration process during boarding and deplaning of passengers.

This will allow United Airlines‘ aircraft high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filtration systems to reduce the virus spread in all of their carriers. The combined efficiency of these systems can recirculate the inside air every 2-3 minutes and removes 99.97% of particles, including viruses and bacteria, making it safer to be onboard the plane than spending time in grocery stores, restaurants and schools, according to United Airlines.