Let me say at the outset that the point here is not to make baseless speculation. Rather, the point is to put together puzzle pieces and at least grapple with what may have occurred. Furthermore, it is to advocate for transparency.
Korean Air Flight Attendant With Coronavirus Spent Two Days In Los Angeles
Yesterday, LA media (citing Israeli and Korean media) widely reported that the Korean Air flight attendant who contracted COVID-19 “hung out” in Los Angeles during her layover of almost two days between the morning of February 19th and night of February 20th.
Allegedly, she flew on these flights:
- KE 17 / ICN-LAX / 19 February / 2:30PM dep / 8:30AM arr
- KE12 / LAX-ICN / 20 February / 10:40PM dep / 5:10AM arr +2 days
Those flights details have not been confirmed by Korean Air, but have been widely circulated in South Korean media.
Then there was the question of what she did while she in Los Angeles. Chatter begin to spread in online forums for Korean-Americans that the flight attendant was seen in the following five places:
- 항아리칼국수 Hangari Kalguksoo
- 아기씨곱창 Ahgassi Gopchang
- 한신포차 Hanshin Pocha
- 꿀돼지 Honey Pig
- Wilshire Grand Center (InterContinental DTLA)
The first four places are popular Korean restaurants while the InterContinental DTLA is a hotel owned by Korean Air and where Korean Air flight crews always stay during Los Angeles layovers.
Then The Info Disappeared…
But by this morning, that info was wiped clean. Local ABC, CBS, and Fox affiliates removed all traces of this info. The Times of Israel removed it, as did Yonhap, a South Korean new agency. It was almost like a gag order descended over this story.
This probably occurred because it never should have been reported in the first place…it may well have been baseless speculation that she would visit four restaurants over a two-day period (though I don’t find it so far-fetched).
Perhaps these restaurants freaked out because even rumors of coronavirus could (and did) drive away business.
So why am I bringing it up?
Not to warn you to stay away from these places. But to state the obvious: unless she slept for two days, which is highly unlikely considering she was not yet exhibiting any flu-like symptoms at the time, the flight attendant must have done something while she was in LA.
And wouldn’t it seem logical that she would visit some of LA’s best insider Korean restaurants? I strongly doubt that a flight attendant can afford room service three times a day at the InterContinental (I’ve seen the prices…). These days, Koreatown is becoming hipper and cooler as it gentrifies into LA’s next yuppie enclave. It’s not uncommon to see Korean Air flight attendants hang out there.
I don’t think it is wrong for Los Angeles residents, including myself, to ask where the flight attendant was. That info is available…Korean Air is simply holding it back. Speculation is bound to result as long as that information is withheld.
It’s a bit sobering to think that one flight attendant may have spread COVID-19 to hundreds of people, isn’t it? I think the people of Los Angeles have a right to know where the flight attendant was during her stopover. Not because we are afraid, but because we want to be informed and make the wisest decisions for ourselves and our families on the basis of known risk…