What Dr. Henry Ting - Delta's Chief Health Officer - Wants Your Travelers to Know About the Omicron Variant: A Time for Vigilance, Not Panic
As researchers work to understand even more about the COVID-19 Omicron variant, Delta’s Chief Health Officer, Dr. Henry Ting, shares that while early data shows the variant is likely more contagious, it’s associated with less severe illness than earlier strains. Most reassuring is that the death rates from infection have not increased. Further, our ability to diagnose the new strain, our safety measures, and treatments remain effective for preventing spread.
Dr. Ting, a world-renowned doctor, joined Delta this year as the industry’s first Chief Health Officer. In his previous role as Mayo Clinic’s enterprise Chief Value Officer, Dr. Ting served as Delta’s primary COVID-19 advisor who has helped shape Delta’s response since the early days of the pandemic.
Here is Dr. Ting’s take on the Omicron variant and ways to stay protected:
WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO STAY PROTECTED AS WE WAIT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS NEW VARIANT?
Vaccines and boosters remain the best tool we have to protect ourselves and those around us. Boosters are now recommended for all adults in the U.S., regardless of medical conditions or work risks.
HOW DO YOU SEE THIS IMPACTING TRAVEL?
We’re constantly learning and re-evaluating our safety layers in response to the latest science, as we have throughout the pandemic. And while we expect to learn more over the next couple of weeks about Omicron, there’s nothing we have learned so far that makes us concerned that air travel is any less safe than it has been at any other time since launching our Delta CareStandard.
We know that wearing a mask works. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has extended the federal mask requirement on board aircraft and in airports through March 18, 2022, as part of efforts to combat the Omicron variant and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation systems.
As we have done throughout the global pandemic, Delta will continue to fully comply with the federal mandate. Additionally, the air on Delta aircraft is completely refreshed every 2-6 minutes with fresh outside air or air that has been circulated through industrial-grade HEPA filters, which extract more than 99.99% of air particles – including viruses.
Science-backed cleanliness protocols
Our promise is to continuously raise the bar on cleanliness throughout the travel experience with the Delta CareStandard. At the airport, our people conduct frequent and thorough wipe-downs of surfaces, including our check-in lobbies, Delta Sky Clubs and gate areas. Our end-to-end disinfection procedures have been certified by Lysol Pro Solutions. Hand sanitizer dispensers are available near high-touch locations.