Air Travel, COVID19 and Masks
Not all that long ago people took a sideways glance at a passenger sporting a mask. Today, it’s the other way around. Persons without a mask are the ones getting the long look. Recent rulings on many airlines are stating all passengers over the age of 2 are required to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth during check-in, boarding, in flight, and when deplaning. It has always been disconcerting to be in the near proximity of someone coughing, now it is cause for alarm. COVID19 can and has been a death sentence for many. It’s not something to be taken lightly, nor should it be. We have a responsibility to ourselves and our greater community.
TSA is abiding by the social distancing while maintaining security measures. They have also fallen prey to the pandemic. More than 500 TSA employees have test positive for the virus and at least 5 have died. Most of the airlines that have announced they are requiring masks be worn at all times have cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s findings that the use of cloth masks or face coverings slows the spread of the virus, which causes COVID-19.
According to CNBC, “April 2019, more than 2 million travelers passed through U.S. airports every day. A year later, the coronavirus pandemic all but shut down air travel, as people sheltered in their homes, scared that recycled air and close quarters will make airplanes a breeding ground for Covid-19 infections. Air travel has dropped by more than 95%, with some days seeing fewer than 100,000 air travelers across the country.” People who must travel for work press on, while those who travel for pleasure, likely find little pleasure in the overwhelming stress caused by the pandemic. Fear of the unknown is our new reality. Not knowing who may or may not be harboring the virus is that great fear. It is a fear that’s very real and very deadly. Unfortunately it is not going away anytime soon.