Air travel requires spending time in security lines and at airport terminals, taking sometimes  and ultimately coming into close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces.

So it’s no surprise that as , people are wondering: is it safe to fly now?

Dr. Joseph Khabbaza, a pulmonary and critical care physician at the Cleveland Clinic who treats , told USA TODAY that flying offers more potential for than  because of the nature of how planes are configured.

“Once you’re in the cabin, you don’t know who’s on the plane,” he said. “You’re in relative closer proximity to people you don’t know.” You may have to sit near others (closer than the ), sometimes for hours.

Still, he said, flying is safer than it was earlier in the pandemic because of

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