(FeaturedNews.com) – When the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) first announced its mask mandate in 2020 for all forms of public travel, it seemed almost normal for the time. COVID-19 was brand new, and former President Donald Trump’s team jumped into action to help squash the spread. While most of society has moved on from mask-wearing, TSA kept extending its mandates. However, the latest extension to the first week in May put the mandate in front of a federal judge, who handily struck it down as unconstitutional.
US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle found that the CDC overstepped bounds when it instituted a mask mandate by failing to provide adequate reasoning for the order. She also said they failed to allow public debate on the issue — a violation of procedure.
Mizelle’s ruling means the measure is null and void, effective immediately. The TSA will stop enforcing the rule, according to CNBC. The White House press secretary said the Justice Department will look at the case to see if they should appeal. With the mandate set to expire in another two weeks, it seems unlikely an appeals process would do much good. Along with the TSA, CNBC also reported that United, Delta, and Alaska Airlines will also stop enforcing masking rules in the air.
The Case for Mask Wearing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said throughout the pandemic that mask-wearing in public, especially in enclosed spaces, can help slow the spread of the virus. The tactic may have been effective during surges of the original strain and subsequent variants, but it doesn’t seem so important with the version of the coronavirus currently dominating the numbers: Omicron.
The Omicron variant seems unstoppable. Even in places like Shanghai, China, where draconian lockdowns went into effect as soon as they had spikes in cases, the virus spread. Unlike its predecessors, this one isn’t nearly as dangerous. The CDC revised its mask recommendations after changing the way it looks at the spread of the virus. Rather than viewing raw case numbers, they began measuring severe cases and death. In the end, fewer than 2% of Americans live in counties that meet the agency’s guidelines for mandatory masking.
The CDC still recommends masking for those utilizing public transportation. A recommendation and a mandate, however, are two different things. The airline industry is no fan of masking and has repeatedly asked the Biden administration to lose the rule. With the major airlines taking steps to lift restrictions, it may not be long before travel begins to look like normal once again.
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