Pilots & their finances may not be so lucky to fly again if COVID19 +ve

Pilot COVID+

COVID19 has the potential to damage the lungs & heart. Pilots may survive a COVID19 infection but may not fly again. There is a need to ask some direct questions to the authorities and airlines. “I am risking the rest of my career but I may not have a job too” my thoughts at the moment. (Walter Rego has explained the financial impact in detail)

ICAO, IFALPA and others need to address the crew medical recovery procedure at the earliest. So far, the ICAO aviation medicine requirement is that the pilot needs to be disease-free. The secondary impact of the disease will have greater repercussions.

Pilot COVID+
Pilot COVID+

PPE saves lives?

False sense of safety is what PPE’s give. It is highly unsafe for a pilot to be wearing the full PPE with a mask and hood. What is there is a need to don the emergency oxygen? Regulations require the O2 mask to be donned in 5 seconds using one hand and without affecting the eye glasses. Its just not possible.

The world is reeling under the stress of COVID19 virus pandemic. The mortality rate stands low and those with pre-existing illnesses, getting on with the years are at greater risk.

Clinical Classifications:

Mild Cases: The clinical symptoms are mild and no pneumonia manifestations can be found in imaging.

Moderate Cases: Patients have symptoms such as fever and respiratory tract symptoms, etc. and pneumonia manifestations can be seen in imaging.

Severe Cases: Adults who meet any of the following criteria: respiratory rate >30 breaths/min; oxygen saturations <93% at a rest state; arterial partial pressure of oxygen (PaO,)/oxygen concentration (FiO,) s; <=300 mm Hg. Patients with> 50% lesions progression within 24 to 48 hours in lung imaging should be treated as severe cases.

Critical Cases: Meeting any of the following criteria: occurrence of respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation; the presence of shock; other organ failures that require monitoring and treatment in the ICU.

How can a respiratory illness like COVID-19 damage the heart?

Can COVID-19 damage the heart? Yes: Although COVID-19 — the disease caused by the coronavirus that’s led to the global pandemic — is primarily a respiratory or lung disease, the heart can also suffer.

Early reports coming out of China and Italy, two areas where COVID-19 took hold earlier in the pandemic, show that up to 1 in 5 patients with the illness end up with heart damage. Heart failure has been the cause of death in COVID-19 patients, even those without severe breathing problems such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS.

Not all heart problems related to this coronavirus — officially called SARS-CoV-2—are alike, however. Cardiologist Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S., explains the different ways the virus — and the body’s response to it — can cause heart damage.

“There are multiple mechanisms for heart damage in COVID-19, and not everyone is the same,” Michos says. Temporary or lasting damage to heart tissue can be due to several factors:

Financial grounding (written by Walter Rego)

I am thankful to Walter Rego for this contribution and helping putting forth the inevitable.

“After considering the risk, signing a new contract makes no sense.  In normal times with no risk (of disease), we get a take-home of ‘X’ amount – lowest being 70lakhs/per annum(USD93,000)  – ours is a rare skill involving so many licenses + a VALID medical– so in abnormal times they should pay us, even more, to come out and fly.

– The pandemic is ‘still on’ it’s not over, and the chances of getting infected are very high especially since the virus is so contagious.
Let’s say you contract the virus and fall sick (several pilots in the high-risk category) if u recover from the disease there is a good chance that u may be PMU – as it attacks ur heart tissue and lung tissue and you may have permanent damage. 
Its gonna be a statistical occurrence…let’s say of 5% of the pilots. 
It is also highly possible that you make take the disease home and give it to a family member.  Also due to reduced revenue the hotels the transportation everything is gonna be substandard, and out of your control. 
If they propose the pay cut after the pandemic over and it’s all safe then considering a pay cut due to a recession may make sense, but right now for the risk- I would actually ask for even more money or choose to sit at home. 

Also, remember the treatment for COVID in a good hospital is almost 7 lakhs – they will quarantine everyone living in your home in a substandard facility and flight crew will have mandatory testing.  The disease being super highly infectious, let’s say 2 people from your family are affected- u lose 14 lakh or even the family member.

With the pay cuts/altered hourly flying based salary being announced (illegally) by airlines, pilots (Capt’s in some airlines) would almost take home 25 lakhs(USD33,000) max this year. 
Even if the Pilot is 40 years of age he has another 25 years to go contracting the virus and going to a hospital and then running the risk of being PMU it makes absolutely no sense to go to work but to wait it out till the pandemic is over and then start flying. “

Pharma drugs & organs

Chloroquine phosphate: dizziness, headache, nausea, vomit, diarrhoea, different kinds of skin rash. The most severe adverse reaction is cardiac arrest. The main adverse reaction is ocular toxicity.

Combination of drugs also cause fatal arrhythmia, severe coma.

The psychological stress and symptoms of COVID-19 patients

Confirmed COVID-19 patients often have symptoms such as regret and resentment, loneliness and helplessness, depression, anxiety and phobia, irritation and sleep deprivation. Some patients may have panic attacks.

Psychological evaluations in the isolated wards demonstrated that about 48% of confirmed COVID-19 patients manifested psychological stress during early admission, most of which were from their emotional response to stress. The percentage of delirium is high among critically ill patients.

There is even a report of encephalitis induced by the SARS-CoV-2 leading to psychological symptoms such as unconsciousness and irritability.

ICAO recommendations for flight crew

About Capt. Amit Singh

I think therefore I am https://www.linkedin.com/in/traintofly/ Airlines Operations and Safety balance expert. A former head of operations/training and safety of successful LCC's in India. An experienced member of the startup teams of these airlines has hands-on experience in establishing airlines systems and processes.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.