President Biden campaigned on requiring masks. His administration instituted a mask requirement as one of its first acts for transportation not because transportation was identified as a key locus of virus spread but because it’s the place (in addition to federal property) where there was the strongest legal basis for doing it. Have you asked yourself why transportation gets the mask mandate but most other areas of life do not?
The TSA couldn’t do it on its own and neither could the FAA. It’s not even clear that the CDC’s legal basis for the transportation mask mandate is sound although it might ultimately be judged to be. But it had the strongest legal footing.
In other words, the transportation mask mandate is largely political and symbolic. And it will eventually be lifted for symbolic reasons, as part of ‘beating the virus’.
Similarly, the new ban on most travel by non-U.S. citizens or permanent resident who have recently been in India which goes into effect Tuesday is symbolic – porous and giving people advance notice to get into the country under the wire – was meant to appear that the administration is ‘doing something’.
This isn’t a Democrat versus Republican point, it’s about the science. The best you can say about the previous administration’s Covid-19 travel bans as well, the CDC blew the China ban, the Europe ban came too late, and both were too porous anyway especially for a country with land borders.
Covid-19 variants spreading in India are already here in the U.S. Travel bans won’t keep them out.
.@POTUS set to restrict travel to US from India for non-US citizens.
"I can assure you that the variants that we're seeing circulating in India…are in the US already," says @scottgottliebmd. "If we are gonna do this we ought to be clear about what we're aiming to accomplish." pic.twitter.com/kQd4L0ZGjS
— CNBC's Closing Bell (@CNBCClosingBell) April 30, 2021
The way to stem virus transmission is vaccination. We’re incredibly fortunate that bioscientists developed incredible vaccines. I am thankful for this every day, and I wrote months ago that $1600 stimmie checks should have made vaccination a condition. West Virginia is giving $100 bonus to 16-35 year olds who get vaccinated.
Gateway to India, Mumbia
And why on earth are there restrictions on travel from China and the U.K. where the virus is less prevalent at this point than in the United States? Those physically present within the prior 14 days in China, Iran, the U.K., India, South Africa, Brazil, Ireland and the entire Schengen Area of Europe are banned from entry into the U.S. This list never included Bahrain, Israel, Qatar or Peru which had various points have had among the worst outbreaks in the world.