Why You Need To Wear A Mask On A Plane Even If You Have Covid-19 Immunity

The idea of developing immunity from Covid-19 after you’ve had it isn’t new. And while antibodies seem to wane, that doesn’t mean immunity goes away. You may have memory T-cells fight off a new infection, too, although it’s possible your T-cells will just keep you from getting very sick rather than getting infected.

The CDC is finally acknowledging some immunity, but is taking a cautious approach. Even though immunity may last much longer, they’re saying you should be good for a year but they still advise distancing and mask wearing.

Since they’re only offering this in the context of saying someone who has recovered from the virus within the past 3 months doesn’t have to self-quarantine when exposed to someone with the virus, they’re not offering guidance on what practive activities someone should engage in after recovery.

Nonetheless, @RyanSchohr wants to know why people who have recovered have to wear masks on planes? Isn’t is just “feelings, image & marketing?”

It’s simple, really.

  • When you approach someone who doesn’t know you, whether on a plane or in a grocery store, they don’t know you’ve had the virus and recovered.

  • People with lab-confirmed positives in the past, followed by lab-confirmed negatives, don’t have green ‘no mask’ lights above their heads. Immunity passports won’t work for travel and ‘no mask passports’ are logistically even more problematic.

  • There’s no practical way for an airline to enforce a mask rule ‘only for those people who cannot spread the virus’.

Someone who cannot get the virus can’t spread it either. Assuming that the presence of antibodies (let alone t-cells, b-cells, or other immune system properties) form immunity for some period of time, a person won’t make others sick without wearing a mask.

However to reduce the spread of the virus many governments, businesses, and individuals have decided to require everyone to wear a mask. It’s a simple low cost approach, far less intrusive than a government shut down. It’s the conservative alternative to heavy-handed government health measures. And private businesses are certainly entitled to require this as a condition of service.

Go let friends and family know you’ve had the virus and recovered, and visit with them if you wish and they’re comfortable. Go dine inside restaurants without a mask where that’s permitted (ideally with other people who are similarly immune). Go work out at the gym, go to newly re-opened movie theaters, following the rules that those places have. Many businesses are open that people are cautiously avoiding – someone confirmed to have had and recovered from the virus recently likely doesn’t need to do that.

Understand that the only way to have a mask mandate is for the mandate to apply to everyone, and that mandate is in many cases the only alternative to stricter measures. Whether you agree with that scientifically or not you need to at least acknowledge that as the political reality. And that’s why an anti-masker should, I think, support mask wearing because it’s less intrusive than the policies that would happen otherwise.

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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  1. @Joe
    Ok, I’ll apply the logic to chickenpox.
    Death rate: Covid 19 approximately 1000 times as many people as chickenpox.
    Vaccination: Covid 19, none. Chickenpox very effective vaccine that approximately 90% of people can use.
    Contagion: Covid 19, with a mild case you could be contagious the entire time and don’t know it. Even with a serious case you can be contagious a week to 14 days and not know it Chickenpox only contagious 1 or 2 days before pox shows up. After the pox show up, you know you are contagious. If you are one of the anti-mask crowd, you probably don’t care and will try to fly anyway.
    In summary, there doesn’t seem to be any comparison at all between Covid 19 and chickenpox.

  2. UA-NYC . agreed, pretty good case can be made that history will judge the Trump era as new twist on the McCarthy era. Once we all have luxury of 20 20 hindsight.
    What’s really sad about the covid deniers is the disrespect it shows the many health care workers who are risking their lives to save people. I can’t imagine being on the front line in New York at Covids peak and then having to listen to people say what they did was all a hoax.
    Kind of like someone that wasn’t there telling a WW2 vet that “D Day wasn’t all that bad”

  3. @Jim – Oh please. You have no idea what you are talking about. Sound like a CDC parrot. Chickenpox, measles, etc.. are simple childhood diseases all kids should go through to get lifelong immunity. Instead, a newborn is given multiple vaccines within a few months and by the time they reach 18 they have had 72 injections of poisons. With more than 200+ in the pipeline. Americans are so brainwashed they literally vaccinate newborns on their very first day of life for an STD. WTF? A disease that can only be passed through sex or dirty drug needles

    What you have coming in the near future is a predicted 1 out of 2 with autism. Directly correlated to the rise of the vaccination program.

    The CDC was just FORCED to admit they have never done a study between the vaccinated and unvaccinated after years of being challenged. They refuse to do it because they know clearly the outcome. Unvaccinated children are multiple times healthier. They can crunch the numbers in two days as they have all the stats from the VAERS system. Meanwhile, the VICP has paid out 4 Billion to children and adults who have been injured or died after receiving federally recommended childhood vaccines. And, guess what. That is only about 1% (Harvard study) of the possible injured due to doctors being too lazy or arm twisted by big pharma to avoid reporting to VAERS.

    We do not know the contagious factor. It is assumed by mainstream up to 14 days. In reality, if that was the case so many would be sick or dead with from the “positive” results They are not. .008 percent chance of dying from Covid. Tests are flawed. They don’t work well at all. Testing positive for CV may just be genetic material left over from a cold.

    In 2018 TB killed over a million, including 200,000+ children. TB vaccine didn’t help them. Perhaps due to having no immune system from all the poisons and garbage food they eat. We didn’t shut down the world! Which ultimately has caused more damage and deaths than Covid by the time this is all over.

    American is the sickest nation of the industrialized world. We are 4% population yet consume the most meds of all. Yeah…we are sick all right. In the head, body, spirit, corruption, big pharma, processed food. Number three cause of death…Going into hospital and not coming out due to mistakes, poor treatment, etc…..

    Will have to get a lot worse before we make change.

  4. @JohnW

    I agree it is sad so many health workers lost their lives. For the record, whether here or anywhere, I have never said this is a hoax. On the contrary it is very serious for a certain group of people. But generally not for most of the population.

    I will tell you why many in the front line/health care workers died. There are numerous studies correlating Vit. D levels below 40iu to CV death. Every incoming patient gets their D levels pulled. Most of American are under 30. Doctors are the worst patients and do little to take care of their health. They are inside often working in contagious environments and have no immune system. They should have been on Vit D, C, HCQ and Zinc supplementation. Hardened their bodies to help fight this. But nothing from the CDC, the CCP controlled WHO, big pharma to help them. What you have instead is a fake study done that increased the HCQ levels 10 fold which naturally would kill the patients. That would happen to aspirin. So the FDA pulled it and replaced with Remdesivir at $2000 instead of $20. Which doesn’t do much good at all. And, no FL, AZ, CA are all smothered in sunscreen so they get no D and certainly don’t supplement. Rest of the time with air conditioning.

    So next will be tens of billions of dollars on a vaccine that won’t work. You can partly thank the Gates foundation for that. An organization that has killed thousands of children around the world with defective vaccines. Should have spent some of that money and build plumbing infrastructure in those poor countries. Which is what saved America back in the later 1900’s.

    It is all a big mess.

  5. What’s sad about the masks is that they probably don’t actually work. That’s what the science has always said, and continues to say. But people are fearful, and the masks make people feel they are doing something to protect themselves. It will be interesting to see how the mask cult ends. We have several states now that have almost no virus. We will have many more such states in the next few weeks as the virus wanes. In these places, it would obviously be better if we remove the masks and stop pretending things are unduly dangerous and not normal; the masks encourage fear. But who gives the “all clear”? Do you need to have zero people in the hospital for a month? If that’s the standard, we’ll wear masks forever due to the prevalence of ordinary flu.

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