Coronavirus on the ISS

No, it’s not the title of the latest apocalyptic space movie. There are real fears that COVID-19 may have hitched a ride on the latest flight from Earth to the International Space Station.
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There are real fears that COVID-19 may have hitched a ride on the latest flight from Earth to the International Space Station.

Evgeniy Mikrin, head of Russia’s Energia Rocket and Space Corporation, tested positive for the virus just days after he attended the launch of the Soyuz MS-16 at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Southern Kazakhstan.

Mikrin shared a three-hour flight with the head Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin. The two also sat together in a meeting room separated by glass from the two Russian Cosmonauts and one American Astronaut, shortly before blast off.

Mikrin did not have close contact with the crew, but Rogozin did.  Rogozin was seen breaking social distancing guidelines and standing close to all three crew members aboard the rocket and during a farewell ceremony. All of them were not wearing face coverings.  In some pictures, social distancing was observed, but face-coverings were not.

Mikrin is asymptomatic and in quarantine at home. He is one of thirty Russian space personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19.  It is uncertain whether Rogozin has tested positive for the virus.

In just a few weeks, a life form we cannot see, touch or smell has already covered the planet and possibly gone to space.

Our newsroom is following this closely, so check back daily as events unfold.

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