If you’re reluctant to fly because of the coronavirus, you’re definitely not alone. According to USA Today, half of adults polled said they’d refuse to get on a plane during the pandemic. But is flying actually unsafe? MIT scientists conducted brand new research... and they say, the risk of being infected on a plane is low.

Arnold Barnett is a management science professor at MIT who made calculations assuming that airplane passengers would be required to wear masks unless they were eating or drinking.

And the combination of mask wearing, HEPA filtering, regularly recycled airflow, sitting facing forward, and having a seat in front of you as a barrier, makes flying a low risk for contracting the virus when compared with other crowded spaces. For example, it’s safer than being in an office building or restaurant.

And if middle seats are left empty, MIT says the risk is reduced even further - making the risk of infection 2.4 times less likely. Even if passengers aren’t exactly 6-feet away from each other, as distance between people increases, the risk of transmission decreases.

Right now, JetBlue, Delta and Southwest will continue leaving middle seats open through September.