But one avoidable type of disease transmission occurs in airplanes. Airplanes are breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses. A person can be exposed to disease directly such as when seated next to a sick person who sneezes on the person. In such cases, a case likely could be made against the sick person for negligent transmission of disease. But it could prove difficult to identify the defendant and perhaps even more so to demonstrate that the defendant, and not someone else, was the one who infected a person.
Airplanes rely on recycled air because they fly so high that they must. As the air becomes stale, there is a greater likelihood of droplets containing a virus to remain airborne and infect the passengers. According to a recent journal article, the airplanes on which we most often travel recirculate some 50% of the air. Although the air must pass through high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters before the air returns to the cabin, these filters are designed to remove dust, vapors and bacteria from the air. HEPA filters remove particles measuring 0.3 microns in diameter or larger. Many viruses are smaller than that and so are not captured by the filter. The novel coronavirus is among those not captured, at 0.125 microns.
If you have reason to believe that you have been negligently infected by the novel coronavirus, you should self-quarantine and if your symptoms get worse, seek medical attention. Once you have recovered, you should contact legal counsel to determine whether you can sue to recover your damages caused by the negligent infection.