Masks Coming Back For Vaccinated People, Airline Mask Requirement May Get Extended

The CDC is announcing today that fully vaccinated people should wear masks again in indoor public settings, because of spread of the Delta variant. People aren’t going to comply. However this change makes an extension of the federal transportation mask mandate more likely.

There’s a lot of uncertainty right now,

  • About the spread of the virus in the U.S. Cases are rising, but perhaps far more than reported, because centered around younger unvaccinated people symptoms may be milder leading to less testing (the same holds for many cases among vaccinated people, who also may just assume it’s not Covid because they’re vaccinated).

  • Because of higher viral loads – the Delta variant seems to infect rapidly, part of making it more transmissible and also potentially overwhelming the sterilizing effect of vaccination in some cases (so whereas before an asymptomatic case might be highly unlikely to spread the virus we no longer know this to be the case).

This Is Mostly About Source Control

If we are talking about masks for personal protection then of course it’s a mistake to lump them all together. Pieces of paper coving nose and mouth with a string generally ‘count’ for meeting mask mandates, but provide little protection.

However it seems like the real rationale for the CDC’s guidance is uncertainty about the extent to which vaccinated people might spread the virus. We know this was not happening often before, but really do not know if this has changed. This is in many ways a failure of genomic surveillance, tracking of breakthrough cases (with the CDC only paying attention when a vaccinated person is hospitalized), and total breakdown in contact tracing.

We’ll Almost Certainly Need Booster Shots

In addition it seems as though immunity from vaccines may wane, especially in older people. Lower antibody levels may lead to more breakthrough infections, even if cases are more mild (since it takes time for B- and T-cells to address an infection).

The need for booster shots is almost a certainty, requires planning, but the government appears to be dragging its feet on this – and it’s concerning that more mRNA doses haven’t been ordered than are already in the pipeline. Pressure on U.S.-based Moderna likely prevents this country from going to the back of the line but the lack of action could create shortages again.

People Aren’t Going To Follow CDC Guidance

Mask mandates have been lifted in most places and people have stopped wearing them, except where they’re required by employers or by government.

And while there are breakthrough infections, severe cases and hospitalizations are relatively rare. Even with waning antibodies there’s just not evidence that the Delta variant represents an outsized risk to most vaccinated people (especially those who aren’t elderly or with significant comorbidities). And as a result many vaccinated people just aren’t going to wear masks anymore. Unvaccinated people weren’t likely wearing masks to begin with.

Since CDC guidance is just guidance, since so many have tired of restrictions, and since the CDC has done so much damage to its credibility throughout the pandemic it seems unlikely their advice will be heeded by a majority of people.

What Does This Mean For Masks On Planes?

The transportation mask mandate is currently set to expire September 13. There will be intense lobbying on this issue. Southwest’s CEO wants to see the mask mandate expire. So does United’s. American’s CEO has said he expects the mandate to sunset. However some unions may push for an extension of the requirement.

If the current wave of infection peaks in August, case levels may not be so low as to make it difficult to extend. “Just once more to get us through this wave” becomes a possibility, especially if (as seems likely) the CDC hasn’t again reversed itself on mask guidance.

Put another way, the recommendation that vaccinated people wear masks indoors again makes an extension of the federal masking requirement for transportation more likely.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. @Jorge Paez

    Maga supporters are the only sane people left. Cowards like you are the fifth column.

  2. Hey snowe-flake! I publish my REAL name and I’m the coward? Thankfully, being the Covidiot that you are, you are unvaccinated and will be getting sick soon and hopefully die. It’s called “culling the herd” and I will happily tap dance on your grave. You traitors to the American Constitution have got to go…..

  3. @Jorge Paez

    So you think that you’re the virtuous one on this planet, with your vax enforcer attitude?

    Do you even understand anything about those vaccines? How many different methods are used to produce all of the vaccines that are now on the market? Which ones are more appropriate for any one person vs. the others? Why? What are the potential side effects and consequences of taking the wrong type of vaccine for some people? Do those vaccine really protect the “vaccinated”? If so, then why have tens of thousands, just in USA alone, died after getting jabbed? Do you understand that those tens of thousands who have died, represent more deaths than all prior deaths from all prior existing vaccines used in the history of USA? Do you understand that the majority of new cases of infections come from those who have already gotten jabbed? Do you understand that the claim being put forth by USA government alleging that all of the current deaths from SARS-CoV-2 are now predominantly from those that have not been vaccinated, is a lie? Do you understand that Natural Immunity has been proven to be more effective and longer-lasting than artificial “immunity” from vaccines? Do you understand what Pfizer/BioNTech’s request to force all of their patients to get 3rd jabs is truly about? Why is that 3rd jab even necessary, if their vaccine is so effective, while none of the others have had to make the same 3rd jab request?

    Do you understand that wishing someone to die automatically annihilates every single point that you’ve tried to make in your defense?

    Can you provide the exact Article, Section, and Clause in our USA Constitution where it defines those who are not vaccinated as being “traitors”?

  4. Sorry Curious Cat. I don’t feed trolls.
    Besides, judging by all the LIES you just told (like your supreme orange leader) you are BEYOND help. I follow science. Can’t wait to see you in the hospital like all the others of your ilk saying “they told me this was a hoax! If only I had listened!” Goodbye deluded maga peon…..

  5. @Jorge Paez

    LOL! You claim to follow the “science,” so what are the so-called “lies” that you claim I just told you? What do you really understand about the “science”? Be specific! Based on your reply, you are engaging in that universal practice of clueless Progressives — self-projection while wallowing in self-denials! Do you understand what “self-projection” is? Look in your mirror!

  6. Moving away from the personal insults, there were 92K cases in the US today- that’s up almost 10x from a month ago. Clearly, the Delta variant is much more contagious, even if you are vaccinated. It only makes sense to wear a mask when you cannot socially distance. This shouldn’t be a left wing vs right wing thing- it’s just common sense.

    Thankfully death rates are way down in the US, again due to the high vaccination rate. And yes, it’s probably endemic now. But the more cases, the more this thing lingers, and the higher the chance for it to evolve into something even nastier. Finally, we need to think about all the people in other countries who don’t have access to the vaccine, and the auto-immune people who do not get protection from the vaccine. Wash your hands, wear a mask, and we can drive cases way down.

  7. @George

    You’re claiming that —

    “… death rates are way down in the US, again due to the high vaccination rate.”

    Yet data from Israel, which prolifically used the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and is one of the world’s most vaccinated countries, now indicates —

    “Government data out of Israel shows that 81 percent of all new Chinese Virus deaths and 65 percent of all “severe” and “critical” hospitalizations are occurring in people who received the shots. Only a miniscule percentage of unvaccinated people are experiencing any health problems.”

    There seems to be a big disconnect between common public perceptions and actual field data?

  8. @StrictlyFacts – the VAST majority of elderly, who are the ones most at risk from covid, are vaccinated in Israel. there aren’t that many unvaccinated elderly to wind up in the hospital. So of course hospitalizations will be greatest among the ‘vaccinated’. That’s just math.

    But let’s look at the facts in Israel.

    * At the peak of the previous pre-vaccination wave there were about 350 people in ICUs in Israel
    * That fell to just 19 people on June 17
    * As cases have spiked in Israel the 7 day average number of people in the ICU has not exceeded 29.

    The idea that the virus is somehow putting vaccinated people at risk is absolutely ludicrous.

  9. @Gary Leff

    I think that you misconstrued what I was trying to say in my post, so let me provide some better context —

    I’m *not* saying that the #deaths and the #people needing critical ICU care haven’t decreased with increasing vaccinations, but that the reports on #case infections and #deaths of those who have completed their vaccinations have become politicized in the US. Let’s look at a sample quote as reported by the Associated Press (June 29, 2021) —

    “Earlier this month, Andy Slavitt, a former adviser to the Biden administration on COVID-19, suggested that 98% to 99% of the Americans dying of the coronavirus are unvaccinated.”

    This gives the impression that, essentially, the *only* ones who are dying today of COVID-19, are those who are unvaccinated.

    Do we recall last year when the #deaths from COVID-19 were being inaccurately inflated (eg, young people dying from accidents were inaccurately tagged as COVID-19 deaths) in order to justify some “broader” agenda, before vaccines were available? And now that vaccines are available, we’re seeing another sort of “broader” agenda that needs to deflate the #deaths from COVID-19 associated with those who have already undergone vaccinations, so as to “encourage” everyone to get those “really safe jabs,” while *not* bothering to actually investigate some tens of thousands of purported deaths of those who had “just” gotten their jabs! Something doesn’t seem proper with all of these “broader” agenda actions, so that’s why I resorted to referencing data from outside of the US.

    It is, of course, a great thing that the #deaths attributed to COVID-19 have dropped dramatically during recent times, but we’re talking about a percentages “game” with the current portrayals of “statistical” data that can greatly mislead the public. Keep in mind that, even though the base numbers for #deaths are dropping dramatically, the compositional make up of those deaths can still be represented on a percentage basis. The current claim in the US is that only 1% – 2% of those dying from COVID-19 had been fully vaccinated. But is this plausible, as compared to reports from other countries?

    1. In Israel — “Government data out of Israel shows that 81 percent of all new Chinese Virus deaths and 65 percent of all “severe” and “critical” hospitalizations are occurring in people who received the shots. Only a miniscule percentage of unvaccinated people are experiencing any health problems.” <– 81% of #deaths in Israel is much higher than the 1%-2% claimed in US

    2. In UK — "… of the 42 people who had died from the delta variant (that were confirmed) 12 of them had received two doses of a vaccine over two weeks before. Some 23 of the people who died were unvaccinated and seven had been given one dose of the vaccine over three weeks before they died." <– 45% of #deaths in UK is much higher than the 1%-2% claimed in US

    Now … I *do* understand the typical push back from the Establishment — that attributions for causes of death can't be properly made against vaccines based on such correlations, rather than determined causation, but, then, the reverse can also be said about claims being made by US agencies. Also … *why* are the proper agencies *not* diligently investigating such correlated cases to determine true causations of those deaths?

    3. From you — "The idea that the virus is somehow putting vaccinated people at risk is absolutely ludicrous." <– the *real* concerns about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines stem from their various side-effects that induce heart inflammations, blood clots, certain types of head-based impairments, etc. Such side-effects must be diligently and rapidly investigated in order to understand what actual risks these vaccines pose, short-term *and* long-term, so that the public can properly make their own risk/benefit assessments about what type of vaccine to get "jabbed" with!

  10. StrictlyFalsehoods,

    There’s no evidence supporting your assertions above- just putting quotes around your claims doesn’t make them true. I tried googling a few of them and nothing came up.

    Now the facts are that a majority of the hospitalised patients in Israel are vaccinated. As Gary pointed out earlier, that’s because a majority of the population is vaccinated, and in particular, almost all of the very old and vunerable population is vaccinated.

    It’s clear that vaccinated people can catch Covid, and if you are in your 80’s or 90’s, this can be serious, even with the help of the antibodies provided by the vaccination. That doesn’t mean the vaccines are ineffective (or dangerous, as you keep asserting), rather it just means that these people would probably be dead without it.

    Again, mask up, get your shot and socially distance (and perhaps for you specifically, SF, you might consider another layer of foil in your hat).

    Last from me- feel free to respond with an even longer diatribe with made up stuff- I’m not going to read it this time…

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.haaretz.com/amp/israel-news/israel-s-hospitalized-covid-patients-have-milder-illnesses-doctors-say-1.10031662

  11. @George

    You claimed that “There’s no evidence supporting your assertions above- just putting quotes around your claims doesn’t make them true. I tried googling a few of them and nothing came up.”

    You are correct that I forgot to include attribution for the quotes that I had posted, so here they are, since you somehow couldn’t find them on your own [perhaps improve your search terms or use a different search engine than Google?] —

    1. About Israel — this was quoted from an article discussing what Alex Berenson had reported … I know that pro-vaxxer activists love to denigrate Berenson, but facts are facts, so you can try and debunk him on your own —

    https://www.naturalnews.com/2021-07-28-covid-deaths-exploding-heavily-vaccinated-country-israel.html

    Here are some more articles that elaborate on the issue of vaccinations and deaths in Israel —

    https://archive.vn/jiIVR
    https://archive.vn/ooC1I

    2. About UK — here is the link to their government report that I referenced (see page 14) —

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1001354/Variants_of_Concern_VOC_Technical_Briefing_17.pdf

    ==> My response to *your* diatribe against me, is that you totally did *not* comprehend, at all, what I had written and keep harping back on that tired old claim insinuating how I’m not accepting the positive impacts of vaccinations … once more — I’m complaining about the totally misleading claim by those in the current administration that only 1% – 2% of the COVID-19 deaths in the US are among those who have been vaccinated, while other countries have shown totally different (much higher) percentages! If you want to actually educate yourself about *why* their claim is specious, you can go and dig up what is being used as their questionable definition of “vaccinated” … or you can read about it at the URL below. <==

    https://alexberenson.substack.com/p/here-we-go-again

    You can try to divert and obfuscate all you want about what I had posted, but *facts* are *facts* … and they have a very stubborn quality about themselves!

  12. The previous attempt to post somehow ended up being all mangled together, so this is another attempt —

    @George

    You claimed that “There’s no evidence supporting your assertions above- just putting quotes around your claims doesn’t make them true. I tried googling a few of them and nothing came up.”

    You are correct that I forgot to include attribution for the quotes that I had posted, so here they are, since you somehow couldn’t find them on your own [perhaps improve your search terms or use a different search engine than Google?] —

    1. About Israel — this was quoted from an article discussing what Alex Berenson had reported … I know that pro-vaxxer activists love to denigrate Berenson, but facts are facts, so you can try and debunk him on your own —

    https://www.naturalnews.com/2021-07-28-covid-deaths-exploding-heavily-vaccinated-country-israel.html

    Here are some more articles that elaborate on the issue of vaccinations and deaths in Israel —

    https://archive.vn/jiIVR
    https://archive.vn/ooC1I

    2. About UK — here is the link to their government report that I referenced (see page 14) —

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1001354/Variants_of_Concern_VOC_Technical_Briefing_17.pdf

    ==> My response to *your* diatribe against me, is that you totally did *not* comprehend, at all, what I had written and keep harping back on that tired old claim insinuating how I’m not accepting the positive impacts of vaccinations … once more — I’m complaining about the totally misleading claim by those in the current administration that only 1% – 2% of the COVID-19 deaths in the US are among those who have been vaccinated, while other countries have shown totally different (much higher) percentages! If you want to actually educate yourself about *why* their claim is specious, you can go and dig up what is being used as their questionable definition of “vaccinated” … or you can read about it at the URL below. <==

    https://alexberenson.substack.com/p/here-we-go-again

    You can try to divert and obfuscate all you want about what I had posted, but *facts* are *facts* … and they have a very stubborn quality about themselves!

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