Orlando International Airport TSA Agent Has Coronavirus
Feature Image: CBS Washington
Okay, I don’t have great news here. Then again, when’s the last time you received great news? It feels like ten years ago, right?
TSA Agent at Orlando International Airport Has Coronavirus
Well, the hits just keep on coming for Disney fans. A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent at Orlando International Airport (MCO) has tested positive for COVID-19. Reporter Stephanie Buffamonte broke the story with this tweet:
BREAKING: A TSA worker at @MCO has tested positive for coronavirus. TSA tells us the officer will stay at home until cleared by a doctor. Other officers who came in contact with that person are being told to stay at home for 2-weeks. @fox35orlando
— Stephanie Buffamonte (@StephBuffamonte) March 15, 2020
The Orlando Sentinel has since updated with additional details. Here’s what we know. According to a spokesperson, “The officer is at home resting and will remain home until cleared by a doctor.”
How Bad Is This Situation?
That’s only part of the story. Due to the infectious nature of this pandemic, MCO has had to send home every other TSA agent who came into contact with the unfortunate individual.
TSA officials performed an exhaustive investigation to identify employees who interacted with the infected agent. All of these people must self-quarantine for the next two weeks.
You may wonder about the affected work stations. A TSA spokesperson stresses that MCO “has performed enhanced cleaning of all areas where the officer worked.”
Scenes from American Airports
Even so, airport officials have limits to what they can keep clean. To wit, here’s a photo that was taken tonight at Chicago O’Hare International Airport in Chicago:
This is the scene at O’Hare airport. The traveler who took the photo said it’s a 6-hour wait for bags then on to customs for 2-4 more of waiting in shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. Police are handing out water and disinfectant wipes. @fly2ohare #ord #coronavirus #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/UTx9E0nj1s
— Brooke Geiger McDonald (@BrookeGMcDonald) March 15, 2020
You’ll notice a total lack of personal space. Some people don’t get that close to one another on their wedding nights.
Other reporters are demonstrating similar crowds at airports across the country. Here’s one from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport:
#BREAKING: Passengers stuck in long lines for immigration at @DFWAirport tell us there are no offers of hand sanitizer, gloves, or masks from U.S. Customs / Immigration. Travelers say they’ve had no screenings of temp yet and no one following #coronavirus protocols. pic.twitter.com/9viCnWdncz
— Jason Whitely (@JasonWhitely) March 15, 2020
A friend jokingly asked whether these people had watched 28 Days Later. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Travelers certainly aren’t honoring requests for social distancing. In fact, here’s one angry person’s picture from MCO tonight:
— Scott Curkin (@ScottCurkin) March 15, 2020
What Does This Mean?
I’m not an alarmist by nature, but I do believe in data, math, and science. I’ve also researched COVID-19 exhaustively over the last two months. We aren’t #flatteningthecurve until people stop rubbing elbows at airports, especially ones where TSA agents have tested positive.
You can read this article to understand what I mean:
Please read about this hugely important chart: even if you’re ok and think you’re unlikely to get seriously ill, modifying your behavior is needed to protect all of society. It’s called “flattening the curve” and it saves lives. https://t.co/XRzYYftKrR
— Walt Mossberg (@waltmossberg) March 10, 2020
This latest news is particularly disturbing. I mean, you’ve flown in and out of MCO, right? How many TSA agents did you interact with? The two kinds of airport employees you’re most likely to meet are airline ticket counter employees and TSA agents. Both are unavoidable.
MCO is the tenth-most trafficked airport in the United States and the one that provides service to and from Walt Disney World. So, a worker who interacts with a high volume of people each day at a crowded airport is a Coronavirus carrier.
Anyone who has traveled through MCO this week should pay attention to potential symptoms. Thankfully, odds are remote that you interacted with the affected TSA agent. You should remain vigilant just in case, though.
From the Disney perspective, this turn of events justifies the company’s decision to close Walt Disney World and Disneyland for a couple of weeks. Four Floridians have died thus far, with Orange County reporting its first patient today. Unfortunately, the news will probably get worse before it gets a lot better.
MickeyBlog’s dedicated to keeping you distracted and entertained while the parks are closed, though. Hopefully, that will make the situation more bearable as you spend more time at home.