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Today, the CDC released new guidance that Americans who are fully vaccinated can feel safe removing their masks indoors now as local guidance allows (meaning that local municipalities still need to eliminate any mandates, but clearly that will happen quickly in most areas).
One outstanding question was around planes and other public transit.
As of now, however, the CDC and TSA say that masks will remain required on planes, trains, and busses through September 13, 2021.
Of course, just like the CDC changed course a mere 16 days after the last guidance, this could also change sooner.
I think that the challenge the CDC / TSA sees with public transport is the number of potentially unvaccinated people together in a small and enclosed space for an extended period of time. In this case, the risk is almost exclusively that of the unvaccinated, but short of an officially recognized and enforced vaccine passport system (which won’t happen at a Federal level).
If you have a number of unvaccinated travelers on a plane, despite good air circulation, you could easily see an infection cluster if they are sitting very close to each other. At a certain point though, I think that if the CDC is saying that vaccinated travelers are safe and vaccines are available to all, it’s time to remove the mandate. Those that choose not to be vaccinated can do what they want and take that risk themselves (or wear a mask). That’s just personal responsibility.
Meanwhile, I’ll focus on the good news: Masks are on the way out and a return to normal is quickly coming… huzzah for that!
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