Airlines say mask mandates aren't needed anymore. Are HEPA filters enough to prevent COVID-19 on airplanes?

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Weeks before a federal judge’s ruling led U.S. airlines to drop mask mandates, airline executives argued masks no longer should be required – in part because air filtration systems on planes create “hospital-grade cabin air.”

Now that masks are optional on every major U.S. airline, experts said the filters that remove 99% of particles, including viruses, will help keep transmission on flights low but won’t eliminate the risk of spreading COVID-19 that masks helped mitigate.


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