• Thursday, Apr 22, 2021
  • Last Update : 04:52 am

Airport screening ineffective against Covid-19

  • Published at 07:54 pm May 12th, 2020
A screen shows a thermal imaging system
A screen shows a thermal imaging system taking the corporal temperature of the passengers inside the airport to measure temperature and identify people potentially infected with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Santiago, Chile April 25, 2020 Reuters

'The benefits of screening for case detection at the airport might be limited for a respiratory disease with the potential for presymptomatic and asymptomatic transmission, such as Covid-19'

Airport passenger screening for coronavirus during the early stages of the pandemic was futile because people can transmit the virus without showing symptoms, the United States' top health agency said on Monday.

The analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was published days after a news report that the White House is pushing to return to the strategy as it seeks to re-open the hard-hit airline industry.

Internal emails obtained by USA TODAY on Saturday showed CDC officials urging President Donald Trump's administration to reconsider the plan for fever checks as a means to restore confidence.

The US began screening passengers arriving from China on February 3, interviewing them about possible symptoms and using thermal scanners to take their temperatures, with the policy later widened to include Iran.

Since the bulk of early cases in the US came from the West Coast, the CDC's report focused on screening efforts in California.

Officials screened about 12,000 passengers between February 3 and March 17, giving them instructions on self-monitoring. 

But only three of these passengers were later found to match with the 26,182 patients with Covid-19 reported to California by April 15.

This suggests the efforts, despite requiring 1,694 person-hours of work, were a near-complete failure.

"The benefits of screening for case detection at the airport might be limited for a respiratory disease with the potential for presymptomatic and asymptomatic transmission, such as Covid-19," the reports' authors wrote.

By contrast, airport screening for Ebola during the 2014-15 outbreak was more effective because the disease "has obvious clinical manifestations, is contagious only after symptom onset, and a smaller number of travelers required monitoring," the report added.

According to the USA TODAY report, the White House is seeking to revive the policy of checking travelers for fever at 20 US airports.

Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows said the effort would be visible and install confidence in travelers, according to meeting notes cited by the newspaper.

But Martin Cetron, the CDC's director of global mitigation and quarantine, pushed back, the newspaper said.

"Thermal scanning as proposed is a poorly designed control and detection strategy as we have learned very clearly," he wrote in an email to Department of Homeland Security officials.

"We should be concentrating our CDC resources where there is impact and a probability of mission success."

The mooted plan would see passengers with fever referred to the CDC, with Cetron questioning the agency's authority to execute this plan.

52
Facebook 51
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail