PANDEMIC NEWS UPDATE: AIAA SciTech goes virtual; NASA-designed ventilators to be produced in Brazil; Lufthansa tightens rules for mask exemptions; U.S. airlines brace for layoffs
By Cat Hofacker|August 26, 2020
Our weekly compendium of coronavirus news
The AIAA SciTech conference in January 2021 will be held virtually, AIAA executive director Dan Dumbacher announced today during the virtual Propulsion and Energy forum.
Starting Sept. 1, travelers flying on Lufthansa Air Group airlines must present a medical certificate and a negative covid-19 test result “which is not older than 48 hours” to be exempt from the requirement to wear a mask, according to a press release. Previously only a medical certificate was required.
The Brazilian nonprofit research group CIMATEC and the medical device manufacturer Russer will team up to manufacture NASA-designed ventilators in Brazil, following approval of production plans by the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency, the agency announced on Monday. The team of Russer and CIMATEC (a Portuguese acronym for the Manufacturing and Technology Integrated Campus) will produce ventilators based on the prototypes designed and tested by engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California earlier this year. The VITAL ventilators, short for Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally, will plug into the pressurized air lines at hospitals and draw in air via pneumatic pump.
With federal aid for U.S. airlines set to expire on Sept. 30, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines this week announced they will furlough thousands of employees starting in October. “American’s team will have at least 40,000 fewer people working Oct. 1 than we had when we entered this pandemic,” president Doug Parker wrote in a Tuesday memo to employees. Also on Oct. 1, Delta said it will furlough approximately 1,900 pilots, according to a statement from the Air Lines Pilots Association.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week removed language from its website that recommended travelers isolate for 14 days after returning from traveling internationally or to areas with a high concentration of covid-19 cases. The website now urges travelers to “follow state, local, and territorial travel restrictions,” noting that many areas have their own requirements for incoming travelers.