Coronavirus concern: Bay Area doctor documents 'fully packed' flight from NYC to SF amid COVID-19 pandemic

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A San Francisco medical professional onboard a United flight from Newark to San Francisco documented a "packed" flight and lack of social distancing on board.

Two days prior to his flight, UCSF cardiologist, Ethan Weiss voiced concerns to ABC7 News about his upcoming flight.

"I'm scared of getting on the airplane on Saturday. I've been taking care of COVID-19 patients for the last two weeks and I'm more scared of getting on the airplane on Saturday than I'm walking into the hospital," said Dr. Weiss.

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His fear became a reality when he board the 737 this afternoon. "I guess @united is relaxing their social distancing policy these days? Every seat full on this 737," said his first tweet.



On this other tweet Dr. Weiss shows the message from United assuring that the middle seat on every row would be blocked to provide more space on board.



"If I randomly happen to be seated in an aisle seat and the person in the window seat has COVID I'm probably more likely to get infected there than I would be in the ICU," said Dr.Weiss to ABC7 on an interview two days prior to his flight.

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10 days before this flight passengers received an email from United ensuring that social distancing was part of the changes during this pandemic.

ABC News reported that the 25 health care workers flew home for free, and that may have affected the situation. Paying customers who try to book a ticket cannot select adjacent seats.

United did not comment on why social distancing was not implemented on this flight and instead replied:

"We've overhauled our cleaning and safety procedures and implemented a new boarding and deplaning process to promote social distancing. Our flight to San Francisco had an additional 25 medical professionals on board who were flying for free to volunteer their time in New York - we've provided complimentary flights for more than 1,000 doctors and nurses in the past few weeks alone - and all passengers and employees were asked to wear face coverings, consistent with our new policy."

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