As Passengers Disappeared, Airlines Filled Planes With Cargo

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Most passenger planes today fly virtually empty, but when Virgin Atlantic flight VS251 landed at Heathrow Airport near London on a cloudy afternoon late last month, most of its 258 seats were occupied.

Most passenger planes today fly virtually empty, but when Virgin Atlantic flight VS251 landed at Heathrow Airport near London on a cloudy afternoon late last month, most of its 258 seats were occupied.

No one was violating social distancing recommendations, though. The seats, along with the plane’s belly, were loaded with medical supplies. That flight was one of nine that Virgin flew last month that used passenger planes — — to transport ventilators, masks, gloves and other medical necessities between Shanghai and London.

No one was violating social distancing recommendations, though. The seats, along with the plane’s belly, were loaded with medical supplies. That flight was one of nine that Virgin flew last month that used passenger planes — — to transport ventilators, masks, gloves and other medical necessities between Shanghai and London.

It was one of the most vivid examples of how thoroughly the pandemic has muddled the Airlines have long carried freight alongside passengers, but it never made sense to use their planes exclusively for cargo. That changed in March. As companies eliminated thousands of flights, cargo space became scarce and the price of sending goods by plane shot up, creating an economic case for repurposing idled passenger planes.

It was one of the most vivid examples of how thoroughly the pandemic has muddled the Airlines have long carried freight alongside passengers, but it never made sense to use their planes exclusively for cargo. That changed in March. As companies eliminated thousands of flights, cargo space became scarce and the price of sending goods by plane shot up, creating an economic case for repurposing idled passenger planes.

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Credit…Tom Jamieson for The New York Times
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Credit…Tom Jamieson for The New York Times
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“The cargo business is keeping aircraft, which would otherwise be parked, in the air and given us all more hope than otherwise that we will come out of this,” said Dominic Kennedy, the head of cargo operations for Virgin.

“The cargo business is keeping aircraft, which would otherwise be parked, in the air and given us all more hope than otherwise that we will come out of this,” said Dominic Kennedy, the head of cargo operations for Virgin.

Before late March, Virgin had never used a passenger plane to make a cargo-only trip. Now, it is operating 90 flights a week, even as it makes to its business. (Last month, Virgin’s founder, Richard Branson, even to help preserve jobs.)

Before late March, Virgin had never used a passenger plane to make a cargo-only trip. Now, it is operating 90 flights a week, even as it makes to its business. (Last month, Virgin’s founder, Richard Branson, even to help preserve jobs.)

Virgin is not alone in charting an uncertain path forward.

In the United States, each of the three largest airlines started running cargo-only flights in March. American Airlines had not flown an all-cargo trip in more than three decades. Now, it is flying 140 a week.

Virgin is not alone in charting an uncertain path forward.

In the United States, each of the three largest airlines started running cargo-only flights in March. American Airlines had not flown an all-cargo trip in more than three decades. Now, it is flying 140 a week.

Even Germany’s Lufthansa, which has long operated a separate cargo-only business, has taken advantage of the opportunity by converting its Airbus A330 passenger planes so they can be used to transport goods. Last month, the airline made several trips using those retrofitted planes to carry medical goods from China to Frankfurt, including one from Shanghai.

Even Germany’s Lufthansa, which has long operated a separate cargo-only business, has taken advantage of the opportunity by converting its Airbus A330 passenger planes so they can be used to transport goods. Last month, the airline made several trips using those retrofitted planes to carry medical goods from China to Frankfurt, including one from Shanghai.

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Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times
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Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times
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Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times
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Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times
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Image

Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times
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Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times
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The goods that people and businesses ship by air change seasonally, but they are typically expensive, perishable, urgently needed or some combination of the above. They include items like smartphones, automotive parts, seafood, pharmaceuticals, mail, packages and blouses, shirts and other apparel. But a new category of goods has emerged in force in recent months: medical supplies.

The goods that people and businesses ship by air change seasonally, but they are typically expensive, perishable, urgently needed or some combination of the above. They include items like smartphones, automotive parts, seafood, pharmaceuticals, mail, packages and blouses, shirts and other apparel. But a new category of goods has emerged in force in recent months: medical supplies.

Masks, gloves, ventilators and the like “caused peak demand and these absolutely high volumes, but that’s not saying that the other products or commodities went away,” said Harald Gloy, the chief operation officer of Lufthansa Cargo, the freight arm of the passenger airline.

Masks, gloves, ventilators and the like “caused peak demand and these absolutely high volumes, but that’s not saying that the other products or commodities went away,” said Harald Gloy, the chief operation officer of Lufthansa Cargo, the freight arm of the passenger airline.

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Credit…Tom Jamieson for The New York Times
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Credit…Tom Jamieson for The New York Times
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Under normal circumstances, about half of all airfreight is transported in cargo planes operated by companies like UPS, FedEx and DHL. The other half is typically carried in the bowels of planes below where passengers sit. But these are not normal times.

Under normal circumstances, about half of all airfreight is transported in cargo planes operated by companies like UPS, FedEx and DHL. The other half is typically carried in the bowels of planes below where passengers sit. But these are not normal times.

The grounding of most flights worldwide in March contributed to a nearly 23 percent decline in air cargo storage, . But demand fell a more modest 15 percent.

The grounding of most flights worldwide in March contributed to a nearly 23 percent decline in air cargo storage, . But demand fell a more modest 15 percent.

That gap between supply and demand — along with a boost from discounted jet fuel prices — caught the attention of airline executives.

That gap between supply and demand — along with a boost from discounted jet fuel prices — caught the attention of airline executives.

“It is the bright spot for the industry because it is the only part that is operating and earning revenue at any scale,” Alexandre de Juniac, the head of the International Air Transport Association, told reporters late last month.

“It is the bright spot for the industry because it is the only part that is operating and earning revenue at any scale,” Alexandre de Juniac, the head of the International Air Transport Association, told reporters late last month.

Image

Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times
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Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times
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Worldwide, the average price to ship a kilogram of cargo by air was $3.63 last month, a 65 percent rise from March, according to WorldACD, a data provider that compiles freight data from 70 member airlines. That figure was both the highest recorded and the largest monthly increase since at least January 2008, when WorldACD began collecting consistent, reliable worldwide data.

Worldwide, the average price to ship a kilogram of cargo by air was $3.63 last month, a 65 percent rise from March, according to WorldACD, a data provider that compiles freight data from 70 member airlines. That figure was both the highest recorded and the largest monthly increase since at least January 2008, when WorldACD began collecting consistent, reliable worldwide data.

The price of freight from Asia soared, driven by demand for medical supplies produced in factories there, which have slowly come back online as the region emerges from lockdowns, according to WorldACD. But with the global economy battered, demand for goods could fall fast, and freight rates with them.

The price of freight from Asia soared, driven by demand for medical supplies produced in factories there, which have slowly come back online as the region emerges from lockdowns, according to WorldACD. But with the global economy battered, demand for goods could fall fast, and freight rates with them.

Until then, passenger airlines will keep offering cargo flights, and the IATA is urging governments globally to do more to help. In particular, the group called on government officials worldwide to expedite approval for all-cargo flights, to exempt flight crews from quarantine restrictions and to help airlines find facilities to process cargo and places for crews to rest.

Until then, passenger airlines will keep offering cargo flights, and the IATA is urging governments globally to do more to help. In particular, the group called on government officials worldwide to expedite approval for all-cargo flights, to exempt flight crews from quarantine restrictions and to help airlines find facilities to process cargo and places for crews to rest.

  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated May 28, 2020

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and . But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      More than 40 million people — the equivalent of 1 in 4 U.S. workers — have filed for unemployment benefits since the pandemic took hold. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, , and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Can I go to the park?

      Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don’t live in your home.

    • How do I take my temperature?

      Taking one’s temperature to look for signs of fever is not as easy as it sounds, as “normal” temperature numbers can vary, but generally, keep an eye out for a temperature of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you don’t have a thermometer (they can be pricey these days), there are

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How do I get tested?

      If you’re sick and you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus, They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there’s a chance — because of a lack of testing kits or because you’re asymptomatic, for instance — you won’t be able to get tested.

    • How can I help?

      , which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the , and has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.


  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated May 28, 2020

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and . But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      More than 40 million people — the equivalent of 1 in 4 U.S. workers — have filed for unemployment benefits since the pandemic took hold. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, , and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Can I go to the park?

      Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don’t live in your home.

    • How do I take my temperature?

      Taking one’s temperature to look for signs of fever is not as easy as it sounds, as “normal” temperature numbers can vary, but generally, keep an eye out for a temperature of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you don’t have a thermometer (they can be pricey these days), there are

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How do I get tested?

      If you’re sick and you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus, They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there’s a chance — because of a lack of testing kits or because you’re asymptomatic, for instance — you won’t be able to get tested.

    • How can I help?

      , which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the , and has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.


  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated May 28, 2020

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and . But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      More than 40 million people — the equivalent of 1 in 4 U.S. workers — have filed for unemployment benefits since the pandemic took hold. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, , and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Can I go to the park?

      Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don’t live in your home.

    • How do I take my temperature?

      Taking one’s temperature to look for signs of fever is not as easy as it sounds, as “normal” temperature numbers can vary, but generally, keep an eye out for a temperature of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you don’t have a thermometer (they can be pricey these days), there are

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How do I get tested?

      If you’re sick and you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus, They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there’s a chance — because of a lack of testing kits or because you’re asymptomatic, for instance — you won’t be able to get tested.

    • How can I help?

      , which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the , and has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.


  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated May 28, 2020

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and . But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      More than 40 million people — the equivalent of 1 in 4 U.S. workers — have filed for unemployment benefits since the pandemic took hold. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, , and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Can I go to the park?

      Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don’t live in your home.

    • How do I take my temperature?

      Taking one’s temperature to look for signs of fever is not as easy as it sounds, as “normal” temperature numbers can vary, but generally, keep an eye out for a temperature of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you don’t have a thermometer (they can be pricey these days), there are

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How do I get tested?

      If you’re sick and you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus, They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there’s a chance — because of a lack of testing kits or because you’re asymptomatic, for instance — you won’t be able to get tested.

    • How can I help?

      , which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the , and has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.


  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated May 28, 2020

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and . But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      More than 40 million people — the equivalent of 1 in 4 U.S. workers — have filed for unemployment benefits since the pandemic took hold. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, , and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Can I go to the park?

      Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don’t live in your home.

    • How do I take my temperature?

      Taking one’s temperature to look for signs of fever is not as easy as it sounds, as “normal” temperature numbers can vary, but generally, keep an eye out for a temperature of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you don’t have a thermometer (they can be pricey these days), there are

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How do I get tested?

      If you’re sick and you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus, They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there’s a chance — because of a lack of testing kits or because you’re asymptomatic, for instance — you won’t be able to get tested.

    • How can I help?

      , which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the , and has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.


In the United States, airlines have been slow to use plane cabins to transport cargo, as Lufthansa has done in some cases, because they were awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. The agency last month outlined the steps carriers should take to use that space safely.

In the United States, airlines have been slow to use plane cabins to transport cargo, as Lufthansa has done in some cases, because they were awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. The agency last month outlined the steps carriers should take to use that space safely.

Image

Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times
Image

Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times
Image

At Lufthansa, each all-freight flight has three flight attendants on board, compared with the 15 typically needed to serve passengers. They are there to make sure the goods do not shift in flight or catch fire, Lufthansa’s Mr. Gloy said.

At Lufthansa, each all-freight flight has three flight attendants on board, compared with the 15 typically needed to serve passengers. They are there to make sure the goods do not shift in flight or catch fire, Lufthansa’s Mr. Gloy said.

“In the lower deck, there’s a fire detection system in the compartment, which is not the same in a passenger cabin because usually there are passengers who do the observations,” he said.

“In the lower deck, there’s a fire detection system in the compartment, which is not the same in a passenger cabin because usually there are passengers who do the observations,” he said.

Still, converting passenger planes to carry cargo on the fly is not easy, a lesson that Lufthansa learned the hard way. Decades ago, the carrier experimented with using a Boeing 737 to transport passengers by day and cargo by night, removing and replacing the seats each day, according to Mr. Gloy. Eventually, Lufthansa decided that the rigmarole of using planes for both purposes was not worth the effort.

Still, converting passenger planes to carry cargo on the fly is not easy, a lesson that Lufthansa learned the hard way. Decades ago, the carrier experimented with using a Boeing 737 to transport passengers by day and cargo by night, removing and replacing the seats each day, according to Mr. Gloy. Eventually, Lufthansa decided that the rigmarole of using planes for both purposes was not worth the effort.

“This was not sustainable from an economic standpoint, obviously, but also technically and operationally,” he said.

“This was not sustainable from an economic standpoint, obviously, but also technically and operationally,” he said.

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Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times
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Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times
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These days, however, using passenger planes to ferry cargo makes sense and has offered a modicum of hope to airlines. Of course, the economic rationale for such flights might prove fleeting.

These days, however, using passenger planes to ferry cargo makes sense and has offered a modicum of hope to airlines. Of course, the economic rationale for such flights might prove fleeting.

“The capacity crunch will, unfortunately, be a temporary problem,” said Mr. de Juniac, the air travel association chief. “The recession will likely hit air cargo at least as severely as it does the rest of the economy.”

“The capacity crunch will, unfortunately, be a temporary problem,” said Mr. de Juniac, the air travel association chief. “The recession will likely hit air cargo at least as severely as it does the rest of the economy.”

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