The CDC Extending the Mask Mandate on Planes Indicates They Want Permanent Masking
Another completely insane policy from a disastrously bad organization
At this point, I don’t think it’s a secret that the CDC wants permanent masking.
Recent polling by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee proved how damaging endless COVID policies have become to left leaning politicians:
Unsurprisingly, about two weeks later, the CDC updated their community transmission metrics which dramatically lowered the perceived risk throughout the United States.
Seemingly overnight, in the CDC’s estimation, the vast majority of the United States went from COVID being seen as a dangerous threat where universal masking was an urgent requirement, to an equally vast majority living in a “low to medium” transmission zone.
Even the CDC’s own press release announcing the change specifically mentioned that 90% of the population lived in a low-medium risk area, according to their own inexplicable metrics.
The Science™ changed, apparently!
Except for in one particular area:
On January 29, 2021, CDC issued an Order that required face masks to be worn by all people while on public transportation (which included all passengers and all personnel operating conveyances) traveling into, within, or out of the United States and U.S. territories. The Order also required all people to wear masks while at transportation hubs (e.g., airports, bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations, seaports, U.S. ports of entry, and other locations where people board public transportation in the United States and U.S. territories), including both indoor and outdoor areas.
Masks are still required on planes, at airports, and on other forms of public transportation, according to the same CDC that just said that 90% of the US population live in a low-medium risk area for COVID.
Here’s how the current community transmission map looks:
A number of states are entirely green — Utah, Colorado, Illinois, New York, Maryland, South Carolina, Washington, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, D.C.
Others have only a few counties in the “medium” risk category — Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, California, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina.
As of March 17th, out of over 3,000 counties in the US, only 60 were currently in “high” transmission zones. And that’s despite the issues with hospital utilization in rural areas (which are so numerous they’ll require an entirely separate post) that render the guidelines essentially useless for many parts of the country.
In any case, those 60 “high” transmission counties make up a grand total of 0.47% of the US population.
Roughly 329,459,235 people are living in counties that are in low-medium risk areas.
Here’s how that disparity looks visually:
And even in the high risk zones, hospitalizations, which we’re told are the most important metric to focus on in the era of mass vaccination, are often remarkably low.
For example, Colquitt County, Georgia has 0.70% of inpatient hospital beds occupied by COVID patients, but is classified as a “high” risk county. Also, two counties in Arkansas, Ashley and Chicot, are “high” risk with 1.70% of inpatient hospital beds occupied by COVID positive patients.
In those counties where 1-2% of hospital beds are being used by those with a positive COVID test, the CDC recommends the below mitigation measures.
The left column describes personal “protections” while the right column are their policy recommendations for local governments.
Yes, you’re reading that correctly; an area with 0.70% of inpatient beds occupied by COVID patients should “implement healthcare surge support as needed” and “maintain improved ventilation in public indoor spaces.”
Oh and, it bears mentioning that several counties in highly vaccinated Maine, such as Washington County where 81% of the population is vaccinated, are also in “high transmission” zones where the CDC recommends distributing and administering vaccines “to achieve high community vaccination coverage.”
Absurd metrics and policy guidance aside, what is the possible justification for maintaining mask mandates for airplanes and transit when 99.53% of the country is in a low to medium transmission zone?
How can the risk possibly get lower than this?
What are they hoping to accomplish?
This is part of the broader issue with regards to COVID policy: the lack of clear cut, accomplishable goals. Mask mandates, vaccine passports, 10pm curfews and capacity limits were based on unproven, inexplicable criteria with the repetitive drumbeat of the vague objective of “slowing the spread.”
Despite the unequivocal failure of government intervention to accomplish whatever “slowing the spread” would mean in the face of an endemic virus, mandates and the threat of mandates have persisted.
There was no logical endpoint to when the measures would have “slowed the spread” enough to be removed, because COVID could never be eliminated. What was initially claimed to be a short term goal of reducing the strain on hospitals became an endless dance of mostly useless interventions that accomplished nothing to lessen the strain on hospitals or reduce infections and instead led to countless lives being needlessly disrupted.
When targets and goals were specifically mentioned by “experts” such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, for example getting 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated to eliminate the risk of future surges, they were proven hopelessly incorrect:
What is the possible justification for something as nebulous and ineffectual as forced masking in such limited circumstances, when even specific goals fail spectacularly?
Well a recent article from Axios explains:
Medical experts advocate for continued masking on public transportation, specifically air travel, to reduce broader community transmission.
One person wearing a masks (sic) reduces the likelihood of getting COVID-19 by about 50%, Leonard J. Marcus, director of the Aviation Public Health Initiative at Harvard University said, adding that the chance of transmitting also decreases by about 50%.
"If you put that together – so you’ve got a lot of people on an aeroplane, everybody’s wearing a mask – you’ve done something, in combination with the ventilation system, that really reduces the likelihood of transmission," Marcus said.
This is why combating *real* misinformation is so important. Allowing activists with credentials to influence public policy is leading to absurd, ludicrous, made up percentages like “one person wearing a masks (sic) reduces the likelihood of getting COVID-19 by about 50%.”
What is that based on? It’s certainly not based on any reality that actually exists in this universe.
But because “medical experts” are advocating for continued masking based on quite literally no evidence, the CDC extended their policy and is already setting the stage for more mandates down the road.
The TSA’s statement also hints at the future of masking policies:
During that time, CDC will work with government agencies to help inform a revised policy framework for when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor," the TSA said in a statement.
“For when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor.”
This will be endless.
By allowing the CDC to maintain their demonstrably inaccurate claims on mask efficacy, the complicity of the vast majority of the medical profession and the activism and incompetence of public health, the United States is setting the stage for permanent masks on mass transit.
We’ll never see a statement allowing for the irreversible removal of masks, or admitting the absurdity of attempting to prevent the spread of an endemic respiratory virus that everyone on earth will eventually get.
Just continued references to what the “framework” will be for when the CDC enforces their dubious authority to unilaterally mandate masks on travelers in the United States.
Where is the discussion on what exactly the impact of the CDC’s transit mandates has been on community transmission throughout the country?
As Axios referenced, “Medical experts advocate for continued masking on public transportation, specifically air travel, to reduce broader community transmission.”
They specifically articulate that mask mandates for air travel have and will “reduce broader community transmission.”
So did it work?
Obviously masks have been worn on planes for nearly the entirety of the pandemic, but the date of the official CDC order came on January 29, 2021.
The peak of community transmission in the United States was reached on January 4, 2022.
What exactly did masks on planes and trains and “transportation conveyances” or “the premises of transportation hubs” do to “prevent spread of the virus that causes COVID-19?”
It did nothing. Absolutely nothing.
From June 2021 to January 2022, cases in the United States rose 7,050%. I don’t think there’s any conceivable way to realistically defend the effectiveness of this policy.
But maybe it reduced hospitalizations! Maybe all the mask wearing on planes, as a result of the CDC’s intervention, reduced the severity of the disease in the community!
Let’s look at hospitalizations after the mandate came into effect:
Nope. Nothing there either. Hospitalizations broke records well after the CDC’s order was in place.
There has been absolutely no value whatsoever to masking on planes. There’s been no reduction in community transmission due to the CDC’s mandate, despite the misleading claims from “medical experts.”
Their public transportation order has zero benefit and demonstrable harms — “unruly” passenger investigations have been dramatically higher than before the pandemic, according to the FAA:
You may also recall the countless stories of parents being forced off planes due to their young children becoming frustrated or upset and unable to maintain “proper” masking.
There’s simply no justification for continuing to enforce a policy so utterly disconnected from anything remotely approaching value.
We’ve seen no evidence that masks decrease the community spread of COVID or the severity of cases throughout the United States. Other countries have dropped mandates in airports, rightfully accepting the reality that masking exclusively on planes and in airports (as well as in the general public, obviously) is performative theater.
Community transmission in the US is currently so low that the refusal to finally end the mandate raises the question that must be answered: when will it be low enough to remove masks on planes?
After the inevitable next surge hits, will mask mandates be issued once again, despite the unequivocal failure of masking on public transit? It seems a near certainty that the unquestionable reality that they have not made the slightest bit of difference to community transmission will be purposefully ignored.
The CDC’s track record of incompetence, misinformation and dedicated refusal to acknowledge evidence and data contrary to their policy goals do not inspire confidence. What they’re telling us by extending and continuing the mandate is that they intend to make masking a permanent, reoccurring ritual, no matter how useless and harmful it is.