Study Pinpoints JFK, LAX, Hawaii Airports As Disease-Spread Hot Spots

In today’s globally interconnected world, terrifying illnesses from across the sea are just a flight away. These are the airports connecting us to them, via Scientific American:

A new study finds that [JFK and LAX], along with Honolulu International Airport, are the most likely to facilitate the spread of a major pandemic.

Researchers at M.I.T. used real traveler patterns, geographical information and airport waiting times to predict what U.S. airports are most likely to spread an epidemic from its origin.

The surprise is that the key airports are not necessarily the largest or busiest. Previous research had focused on how easily pandemics can spread globally via air travel once they were in late stages. In those cases, the largest and best-connected airports are indeed the deadliest hubs. But the new work shows that in the first 10 days of an epidemic, other travel centers might be the spreading hot spots.

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