By Laura Onyeneho
It’s been over two years since the nation went into lockdown implementing short-term measures of strict personal hygiene, effective contact tracing, and isolation, to prevent the spread COVID-19. That included wearing masks and social distancing.
That’s seems to be a distant memory as many Americans are pushing to establish what seems to be a “new normal”.
A federal judge struck down Biden administration’s mandate that masks be worn in public transportation systems including trains, buses, planes. This led to a swift change in policy and some relief from restrictions for customers and staff.
U.S District Judge, Kathryn Kimball Mizellein Florida ruled the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) travel mask mandate as “unlawful” and that it exceeded the authority of U.S health officials. Because of this, the Transportation Security Administration stopped enforcing the mandate.
The CDC said “it continues to recommend people to wear masks in all indoor public transportation settings,” according to an official statement. The CDC also said it will “continue to assess the need for a mask requirement in those setting based on U.S COVID-19 community levels, risk of circulating and novel variants, and trends in cases and disease severity.”
The reactions to the ruling have been mixed. Some people argue that COVID-19 isn’t over as fresh waves of cases have swept the country. Experts have warned that a new wave caused by a mutant called BA.2 thought to be about 30% contagious, will increase hospitalization numbers in the coming weeks. And others, despite the surge updates, are just simply tired and want to move on from the pandemic woes.
The Justice Department said it will appeal the district judge’s decision only if the CDC says the mandate is still necessary.
The people took to social media to speak on the matter. Here is what you all had to say.
Airlines dropping mask mandates mid-flight is such a classic example of capitalism making a mockery of consent. People got on a plane with the understanding others would be masked. Suddenly they’re trapped at 10,000 feet in a COVID deathtrap free for all. Nightmare shit. @evan greer (https://twitter.com/evan_greer/status/1516415356272848896)
The fact that a large portion of the population sees mask mandates as a restriction, rather than as a tool to keep people (including themselves) safe is just a reminder of how poorly the messaging on Covid has been from the jump. It has only worsened. @blackgirlmain https://twitter.com/blackgirlinmain/status/1516219722764898312
Not sure who needs to hear this, but lifting mask mandates on flights is the best way to mass-import all the global COVID variants and create a new massive wave in the US. We are repeating the same mistakes again. While COVID rages on in the UK and globally. @nanogenomic https://twitter.com/nanogenomic/status/1516232478075219969
South Korea, France, New Zealand, Australia & Germany are all among the top countries in the world in current case rate. All have used vaccine passports, mask mandates & been repeatedly praised for controlling COVID. It’s utterly insane anyone still takes COVID policy seriously. @ianmSC https://twitter.com/ianmSC/status/1515434128249790464
If you really disagree with mask mandates lifting on American planes, just don’t fly. It’s that simple. Stay in your Zoom, boosted, mask crazed world forever. No one likes Debbie Downers anyway. @ERdoc https://twitter.com/erdocAA/status/1516466816763281413
I see a lot of understandable anger at people who are happy about the mask mandates being lifted, but I hope folks will direct some constructive anger toward strategic targets as well. These moves were systemic. The people clapping didn’t do it. Fighting with them won’t change it. @MsKellyMHayeshttps://twitter.com/MsKellyMHayes/status/1516750696787369999