Coronavirus: Delta flying medical volunteers to 'significantly impacted' areas of US for free

Delta Air Lines is stepping up in the fight against coronavirus. 

While the airline slashed flight capacity by 40% earlier this month, they are finding ways to help mobilize medical volunteers amidst the pandemic. 

Late Friday night, Delta announced on its website that it would be offering free flights to medical volunteers looking to fly to the "front lines" to help fight COVID-19 in "significantly impacted" areas of the country.

The flights will begin departing in April and are available for booking up to three days before takeoff.

"Eligible medical volunteers will be able to book round-trip Delta flights free of charge to Georgia, Louisiana and Michigan, where they will work in coordination with the state and local government offices," Delta said in the announcement.

Georgia, which is home to Delta's Atlanta headquarters, had more than 2,100 positive cases of coronavirus and 65 people in the state had died as of Saturday morning. Louisiana, where New Orleans has been hard hit by the virus, had more than 2,700 cases and 119 deaths. And Michigan had more than 3,600 cases and 92 people had died.

Nationwide, the U.S. has nearly 105,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, outpacing every other country in the world.

The U.S. on Friday became the first country to record 100,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

As testing expands rapidly across the nation, the U.S. is seeing huge daily spikes in the number of reported cases. There were about 10,000 cases as recently as a week ago, according to the Johns Hopkins University dashboard.

While Georgia, Louisiana and Michigan were top of mind for the airline, they are also considering opening the offer for flights to other states, including hard-hit California, Washington and New York.

"We are grateful for the heroic efforts of medical professionals around the world as they combat COVID-19," the airline said on Twitter.

We are grateful for the heroic efforts of medical professionals around the world as they combat COVID-19.

Delta is offering free flights for medical volunteers to assist in certain significantly impacted regions of the U.S.

— Delta (@Delta) March 28, 2020

"Air travel plays a significant role in making connections in both good and challenging times, and our hope is that offering free travel gives more of these professionals the ability to help in critical areas of the U.S," Bill Lentsch, chief customer experience officer at Delta, said in the announcement.

On its website, Delta has outlined how interested medical volunteers can get in touch with state officials regarding the free flights. The airline is working with state and local government offices to coordinate the reservations.

Contributing: Grace Hauck and Jesse Yomtov 

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/news/2020/03/28/covid-29-delta-flying-medical-volunteers-hard-hit-states-free/2932400001/

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