Mask Confusion Continues as DOJ Appeals Ruling Against Mask Mandate on Public Transportation

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Currents News Staff

On planes and trains, mask mandates are vanishing. But not everyone is on board.

“I felt much more comfortable keeping mine on,” said one passenger.

And the rules aren’t the same everywhere. Some trains, airports and cab companies still require masking-up. Plus children under the age of five are not eligible to be vaccinated. Their parents and those that are immuno-compromised or in high-risk categories are now left wondering: is it safe to travel with the unmasked?

“I’m really worried about busses and subways and places that don’t have great ventilation,” said Dr. Leana Wen, the former city of Baltimore Health Commissioner.

Some research suggests masks can protect a wearer alone. It acts as a barrier between particles and your nose and mouth. But the level of protection with one-way masking depends on two factors: the quality of your mask and how it fits.

“If someone’s not wearing a mask,” said Dr. Zeke Emanuel, Former member Biden transition team COVID-19 Advisory Board, “even if you’re wearing a very high quality mask like this, an N 95 mask, They’re infected, you have about an hour, hour and 15 minutes of protection from them.”

According to research from the University of California, a well-fitting N-95 can cut down potentially infectious particles you inhale by more than 20 times compared to not wearing a mask. With a surgical mask, it’s by a factor of 9 and a cloth mask, by 3.

“Just because the government is saying you don’t need to wear a mask, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t” said Dr. Leana Wen.

The choice, for now, in most places, is up to you. Carriers are juggling sweeping changes in the middle of a Spring Break travel surge.

There’s also staffing shortages and an increased demand for air travel. The pilot’s union for Southwest says its employees are suffering from an epidemic of fatigues. And Jet Blue Airways says its trimming flights up by 10 percent this summer.