Although the federal mandate that passengers and employees wear masks while traveling by plane, train, or bus is scheduled to end on April 18, federal officials in health are showing every sign they may be willing to renew it.
Ashish K. Jha (White House COVID-19 Response director), stated that “This decision is made by Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director.” Today On Monday, the show will be on. “I am aware that the CDC is currently working on a scientific framework.”
Savannah Guthrie, the host, asked Jha to confirm whether it was possible for the mask mandate to be extended. Jha replied that “it is absolutely on the table”.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) April 11, 2022
Technically the policy falls within the purview of the Transportation Security Administration, rather than either the CDC or White House. The TSA is like other COVID-19 compliance authorities and defers to CDC guidelines almost completely. Walensky is the only person who can compel concealment. He has used a cautious approach when easing mandates for a wide range of situations.
However, forced masking is contrary to industry standards. CEOs of major airlines have stated before Congress that they believe planes provide better quality air than ICUs. It would be very safe for passengers to decide whether they want to use a mask. However, it’s unlikely that COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations will increase.
Walensky bears the majority of the responsibility. This means that although hospitalizations and deaths will increase as the number of cases increases, extreme risk-aversion may still be the law.
Many families have young children and cannot fly by plane. It is hard to make small kids wear masks on long flights. Parents should consider the cost of masks.
It is possible to believe that onerous restrictions could be lifted at a moment when there has been a slight uptake in the number of cases due to new strains of COVID-19.