It’s no secret that we live in the international and connected world highlighted by how COVID-19 has traversed oceans and affected every society. We’ve seen several airline crew die from contracting COVID-19 and we’ve seen airlines attempt to hide the details of how many crew have contracted it.
Well travel friends, this should offer some perspective before you even leave the ground.
According to this post from April 15th, TSA currently has 412 employees who have recently tested positive for coronavirus. That’s 69 times the amount which had been diagnosed a month ago. Only 31 of those were non-screening employees. In other words, the other 381 were screeners whose job is to be face-to-face with passengers.
Besides the 412 who are currently sick, 54 other employees have recovered and 3, unfortunately, have passed away from the virus. So that’s 469 in total.
According to this TSA By The Numbers fact sheet (dated 16 February 2019), there are over 43,000 transportation security officers employed at nearly 440 federalized airports. So roughly 1% have been ill so far.
According to the CDC, as of April 14th, there have been 605,390 total cases of COVID-19 in the United States, Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with 24,582 deaths.
The population of the United States is roughly 328,200,000. So approximately 0.0018, or 2/10 of 1% have been ill so far.
1% vs. 2/10 of 1%. That’s a huge difference.
- Not nearly everyone with symptoms of COVID-19 in the U.S. has been tested (so lots and LOTS of people potentially have had it and haven’t been properly diagnosed). However, if a TSA officer has some of the symptoms, I suspect they’re tested.
- Unlike some of us, TSA officers can’t social distance while they’re on the job (and who knows if they effectively can while on break).
- The union for TSA officers, the American Federation of Government Employees, didn’t finally convince the TSA to allow and provide their officers with N95 masks (which are designed to screen out 95% of airborne particles, if the masks fit correctly) until March 27th (and they’re apparently still not “required,” just “allowed”).
All things considered, that’s a whole lot of TSA officers who have it. Good thing there aren’t more people flying as I suspect the number would’ve been even higher.
What do you make of this development?