Sick of masks? Well, you could be permanently stuck with them — at least if you want to fly.
Appearing on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci — head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and America’s de facto COVID czar — said that he didn’t believe that masks would ever come off on commercial planes.
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Fauci was asked about masks on planes after airline executives testified on Capitol Hill last week that the mask mandate on planes was no longer called for.
“Several CEOs of the top airlines have said that on an airplane you are actually safer than in an ICU — [with] the protection with the filtration system they have — they were suggesting there really wasn’t much need for a mask on an airplane,” Jonathan Karl said during the interview.
“Are we going to get to the point where we won’t have to wear masks on airplanes?” he asked.
“I don’t think so,” Fauci replied.
— Ross Feinstein (@RossFeinstein) December 19, 2021
“I think when you’re dealing with a closed space, even though the filtration is good, that you want to go that extra step when you have people — you get a flight from Washington to San Francisco, it’s well over a five-hour flight, even though you have a good filtration system I still believe that masks are a prudent thing to do and we should be doing it,” he continued.
At the very least, we’ll have to be wearing masks until March 18, 2022, thanks to an order from the president as part of his effort “to protect Americans against the Delta and Omicron variants.”
“The Administration will continue to require masking during international or other public travel — as well as in transportation hubs such as airports or indoor bus terminals — through March 18 as we continue to battle COVID-19 this winter,” the White House said in a Dec. 2 media release.
“The Transportation Security Administration will extend its implementing orders to maintain these requirements through March 18. Fines will continue to be doubled from their initial levels for noncompliance with the masking requirements — with a minimum fine of $500 and fines of up to $3,000 for repeat offenders.”
And yes, March 18 is a lot different than forever, which is what Fauci seemed to be implying on ABC — but not as different as you might think.
After all, we’re currently concluding the second year of mandates, lockdowns and closures. We’re at the point where even the “700 days to slow the spread jokes” have become wearying. However, there’s a reason why that remains a joke — because we were told it was just 15 days, a little more than a fortnight.
Back then, we were concerned the restrictions would drag on into the summer. The original We’re at the point where we have a vaccine we’re constantly told provides great protection against severe illness in even the Delta and Omicron variants. We have therapeutics that can reduce that risk once we are infected. We have nearly two years of education on coronaviruses.
And yet, we’re having life pushed back over and over again. Now, the administration doesn’t even pretend it’s a fortnight; they’re perfectly happy consigning us to 5-hour cross-country flights in masks for another four months.
And when we get close to March 18, what do you think the odds are that President Biden lets the mask mandate go quietly into that good night?
As for Fauci’s answer, I’m sure we’ll get some “clarification” on that point from him or someone at the White House in the coming days. Perhaps he misheard the question, but one doubts that’s the case. Instead, it feels like he got closer to the reality of the situation than the president or anyone in the COVID-bureaucratic complex would care to admit.
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