A Defense Department study of the risk of catching the coronavirus on a packed commercial flight concluded that a person would have to sit next to an infectious passenger for at least 54 hours to receive a dangerous dose of the virus through the air.

Researchers concluded, assuming that passengers wear surgical masks continuously, very little of the virus spreads because of how the air is circulated and filtered on the planes.

The study, which used a mannequin expelling simulated virus particles to determine how the virus spreads as an aerosol inside an aircraft cabin, had some limitations. But it offers a new way to try to understand the risks of flying during the pandemic.

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