MIT Researchers Predict Which US Airports Are Most Likely To Spread Disease

An MIT study released today showed which U.S. airports are most likely to spread disease, Kathleen Raven of reports.

The study factored in the airports that are flown to the most, the time spent waiting between layovers and connections, geographic location and how long travellers have to wait for planes be it at security or due to delays.

The researchers emphasised the first 10 days of a public health emergency, usually the critical period in preventing a global pandemic, and relied on three years worth of U.S. air travel data to determine which airports are most likely to spread disease.

Here are the top 15 airports according to the MIT study:

  1. John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City.
  2. Los Angeles International Airport.
  3. Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii.
  4. San Francisco International Airport.
  5. Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey.
  6. O’Hare International Airport, Chicago.
  7. Dulles International Airport, Washington, D.C.
  8. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
  9. Miami International Airport.
  10. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
  11. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.
  12. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
  13. George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston.
  14. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
  15. Logan International Airport, Boston.

While Atlanta has the busiest airport in the U.S., a lot of its traffic is made up of regional travellers who don’t spend a very long time at the airport. On the other hand, Honolulu’s airport deals almost exclusively with long-distance travellers who can contract illnesses on their long flights and their connectivity to massive hubs like JFK and LAX makes it a surprising harbor for disease, the study showed.

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