Fauci Thinks Masking On Airplanes Is Here To Stay

Fauci Thinks Masking On Airplanes Is Here To Stay

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While the federal transportation mask mandate has officially been extended through March 2022, it sounds like it could stick around way longer than that.

Dr. Fauci’s latest about masks on planes

Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on Sunday morning’s episode of “This Week,” and answered a variety of questions posed by Jonathan Karl. One of them involved masks on airplanes, following the (questionable) comments from some airline executives this past week about how masks on planes are no longer needed. Here’s the key part of the interview:

Question: “Several of the CEOs of top airlines said that on an airplane you’re actually safer than you are in an ICU, the protection and the filtration system they have. They were suggesting there isn’t really much of a need for a mask on an airplane. Are we going to get to the point where we won’t have to wear masks on airplanes?”

Answer: “I don’t think so. I think when you’re dealing with a closed space, even though the filtration is good, that you want to go that that extra step when you have people. You know, you get a flight from Washington to San Francisco, it’s well over a five hour flight, even though you have a good filtration system, I still believe that masks are a prudent thing to do, and we should be doing it.”

That’s a pretty drastic statement, assuming Dr. Fauci understood the question correctly, or at least answered the question being posed. The question was about whether we’ll get to the point where masks won’t be needed on planes, and Dr. Fauci said he doesn’t think we’ll get to that point.

Now, I should acknowledge that some people interpreted Dr. Fauci’s statement differently than I did. Some interpreted his comments to mean that masks are needed for the time being, and until case numbers go down. I don’t think that was an answer to the question being posed, but I get how nuance like that can be lost in an interview. So let’s address the topic more generally.

When should masks no longer be needed on planes?

Frankly it’s hard to have any reasonable discussions around masking or coronavirus, at least online. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground between the people feel the need to tell everyone on Twitter how much they enjoy wearing masks, and those on Twitter who simply deny that vaccines or masks work (I’m exaggerating slightly here, but not by much).

Let me try to take a middle-ground approach (which reflects how I actually feel), noting that I’m neither a doctor nor a scientist. Rather I’m just someone who travels a lot, who is vaccinated and boosted, who appreciates what scientists and doctors have done, who has managed to avoid getting coronavirus, and who continues to try to live my life while still applying common sense and taking precautions that protect me and (more importantly) those around me who are more vulnerable.

With that in mind, here’s my take:

  • Did a mask mandate on planes make sense at the start of the pandemic? Yes, absolutely…
  • Does a mask mandate on planes make sense right now? At this very moment I’d probably say yes, because I can’t count the number of people I know who have coronavirus or are sick, albeit with very mild symptoms
  • Could I see myself wearing a mask in the future when flying, even if there’s not a requirement to do so? Possibly…

Personally I don’t think there’s any justification for not eventually removing a mask mandate on planes, though:

  • From a public health standpoint, yes, wearing masks on planes will likely reduce the risk of illness over time, even if coronavirus becomes less dangerous; public health experts don’t necessarily have to weigh quality of life when making these recommendations
  • Coronavirus will hopefully get to the point where it’s no more dangerous than so many other risks that we take, and if the COVID-19 pills currently being tested work even slightly as well as planned, that could greatly reduce severe illness and death
  • In my opinion the only logical reason to expect masks to be mandated on planes forever is if you don’t believe we’ll get to the point where the death toll from coronavirus decreases significantly

Pre-pandemic we took a lot of risks in life that could be avoided, from getting in a car, to going to a social event and getting the flu. Yet we often didn’t think twice about them. Hopefully coronavirus will eventually be like that as well.

Bottom line

Dr. Fauci talked about masking on airplanes in an interview this morning. The way I interpreted the interview, it was being suggested that masks on airplanes are here to stay permanently, but others had a different interpretation.

Personally I’m hopeful that we’ll get to the point where masks on planes are no longer required. The reason I say that is because I sure hope the death rate from coronavirus will eventually decrease significantly, thanks to new treatment options. If the death rate decreases significantly, then it seems coronavirus should be treated like so many other risks we’ve taken over time.

When do you think masks on planes will no longer be mandated?

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  1. BG Guest

    Masks on planes goin down due to slapping punching spitting incident on Delta. We can’t have onboard violence like that. Support in decline.

  2. Robert Guest

    The problem with the enclosed space isn't with stagnant air, it's with infected people sitting immediately near me who cough or sneeze. I'll breath that in before any filtration can happen. I'm surprised more people, especially people like Fauci, aren't talking about this aspect.

  3. Canadian Flyboy Guest

    As a flight attendant, I love masks.

    Pre-COVID, I was getting sick about once every other month. Now with masks, I haven’t been sick in like a year, and my airline isn’t really doing much in regards to sanitization.

    The one thing I don’t like, is having to enforce mask compliance. I don’t understand why people argue or refuse to wear it onboard. They are fully aware that masks are required, and knew...

    As a flight attendant, I love masks.

    Pre-COVID, I was getting sick about once every other month. Now with masks, I haven’t been sick in like a year, and my airline isn’t really doing much in regards to sanitization.

    The one thing I don’t like, is having to enforce mask compliance. I don’t understand why people argue or refuse to wear it onboard. They are fully aware that masks are required, and knew that before they booked their ticket.

    If you don’t like masks, write a letter to your local politician. Don’t yell or assault a flight attendant, who is just doing their job.

  4. GBOAC Diamond

    Several folks have commented in this thread either that masks have been shown not to work OR it has been shown that masks do not work. Anti-maskers clearly want to believe this but in reality there is considerable evidence reported in respected journals that masks do reduce the transmission of the virus. Here's on report that offers a good summary.
    https://www.kxan.com/news/coronavirus/do-face-masks-work-here-are-49-scientific-studies-that-explain-why-they-do/

  5. MikeL1986 Guest

    I personally think he meant that they are here to stay as long as the pandemic is still going on. If he truly meant that we will never fly maskless again, then this old moron needs to be canned. That would be a truly idiotic thing to say. Every pandemic comes to an end. If some crazies want to mask for the rest of their lives then let them. It should absolutely not be a requirement once the need is done.

    1. ADF Guest

      Why should we assume that he wasn't talking about permanency?

      Ask yourself this question: do you honestly think there will ever come a time when Fauci will go on tv and NOT say "yes" when asked whether someone, anyone, should still wear masks? This will be his answer for as long as he's around. What conditions could possibly be reached that will cause him to say no?

    2. Reed Guest

      "Every pandemic comes to an end."

      The Bubonic plague lasted centuries.

      The cholera pandemic lasted 14 years.

      The HIV pandemic is still going strong (which I know people like to dismiss as "you got what you deserved", but 36 million deaths is hard to dismiss), 45+ years after being identified.

      Tuberculosis is still a global, deadly disease, second only to Covid-19 now, and it will likely be endemic forever, with about 1/4 of...

      "Every pandemic comes to an end."

      The Bubonic plague lasted centuries.

      The cholera pandemic lasted 14 years.

      The HIV pandemic is still going strong (which I know people like to dismiss as "you got what you deserved", but 36 million deaths is hard to dismiss), 45+ years after being identified.

      Tuberculosis is still a global, deadly disease, second only to Covid-19 now, and it will likely be endemic forever, with about 1/4 of all humans infected (most asymptomatically) at any one time.

      The Covid-19 pandemic is 2 years in, and only accelerating towards being globally endemic.

      I hope masks aren't forever either - because I don't want to live in fear forever. But that will require settling on an endgame for restrictions like masks (and don't try to sell me on the idea they are "normal" - they aren't, even if I will wear them when required). The endgame simply CANNOT be "until the pandemic is over" - because that will not definitively happen, at least in any of our lifetimes. I'm okay with that. Are you?

  6. Jason H Guest

    Personally, I just want it to get to the point that someone wearing a mask isn't viewed as a political statement. I'm not the most comfortable in public and I also do not have a good poker face. People often read way to much into my "resting bored face" (thank you Dilbert) so wearing a mask in public settings has been very freeing for me. Sadly, I can't tell you how many times I've been...

    Personally, I just want it to get to the point that someone wearing a mask isn't viewed as a political statement. I'm not the most comfortable in public and I also do not have a good poker face. People often read way to much into my "resting bored face" (thank you Dilbert) so wearing a mask in public settings has been very freeing for me. Sadly, I can't tell you how many times I've been told I'm a "sheeple" or something similar for wearing my mask.

    Whether you think a mask "works" or not, I'd ask everyone to just be kind and civil to everyone you meet, both in person and online.

    1. ADF Guest

      It'd be nice if not wearing a mask could be seen as that, too.

  7. Madge Guest

    Use Palmolive dishwashing liquid. It softens hands while you do dishes.

  8. Wilhelm Guest

    I wear a mask to protect myself and those around me. It’s not something I enjoy, and compared to for instance distancing and reducing the number of contacts it’s not as effective. However, there is a huge difference between wearing a mask for a couple of hours and twenty. Hence, I will avoid longhaul travel until the mask mandate is removed. I will also not visit places where masks are required outdoors.

    I’m not anti-mask...

    I wear a mask to protect myself and those around me. It’s not something I enjoy, and compared to for instance distancing and reducing the number of contacts it’s not as effective. However, there is a huge difference between wearing a mask for a couple of hours and twenty. Hence, I will avoid longhaul travel until the mask mandate is removed. I will also not visit places where masks are required outdoors.

    I’m not anti-mask - it has merits, and together with other risk-reducing behaviour it has helped me avoid getting Covid (knock on wood)

    1. Donna Diamond

      I felt the same way about mask wearing last year that I would be absolutely miserable after wearing one for long haul travel, which for me is usually 17 to 20 hours. I took six trips to Europe in 2021 and I didn’t have any real discomfort. I even slept in a mask on several TATL flights. You get used to it eventually. If it’s just the mask keeping you from long haul flying, I’d reconsider. Clearly, if infection is a larger concern, then pass for now.

    2. JBR Guest

      I 100% support wearing masks on planes for the time being, there's no logical choice but to do so at this time with the new variant (and the delta variant) and associated exploding infection rates. I would go further and require N95 or KN95 masks in planes as they are much more effective than cloth masks and at this point are widely and affordably available to the public. With that being stated, a month ago...

      I 100% support wearing masks on planes for the time being, there's no logical choice but to do so at this time with the new variant (and the delta variant) and associated exploding infection rates. I would go further and require N95 or KN95 masks in planes as they are much more effective than cloth masks and at this point are widely and affordably available to the public. With that being stated, a month ago I flew from the western US to Mumbai, India and back, a total of well over 24 hours of wearing masks on planes and in airport terminals each way. Wearing a mask on two 10-hour legs in a row is pure and absolute torture. About four hours before arriving to LAX from LHR on my second leg from Mumbai, my sinuses went bonkers and my nose starting running badly from both exhaustion as well as from wearing a mask for such a long period of time. Add in the Covid testing requirements and (at least at LHR in November), chaotic vaccination/testing forms and checks at airports, and the constantly changing variations in the entry requirements for every country, you really really really have to want to go to your destination for long haul or especially ultra long haul international travel right now.

      Unless it's for an emergency, I for one won't be traveling more than 4-6 hours or so on a plane until the mask requirements are eliminated and it's safe to not wear a mask in a plane.

  9. NYGuy24 Member

    First off, nobody is claiming to enjoy masks, so don't try to suggest that one side is saying that even as an exaggeration, especially when there are people out there who actually are running around claiming masks and vaccines do not work. Frankly your interpretation of fauchi's answer is nothing but clickbait. The question asked by the reporter was poorly phrased where they started out with statements from airline CEOs that masks aren't necessary now....

    First off, nobody is claiming to enjoy masks, so don't try to suggest that one side is saying that even as an exaggeration, especially when there are people out there who actually are running around claiming masks and vaccines do not work. Frankly your interpretation of fauchi's answer is nothing but clickbait. The question asked by the reporter was poorly phrased where they started out with statements from airline CEOs that masks aren't necessary now. In what world would mask wearing be permanent if there was no covid spreading? Completely inappropriate to suggest an interpretation of his answer. Oh and the ICU reference by airline CEOs is garbage. In a covid ICU environment staff are wearing masks. The filtration is not going to stop you from getting infected by the people within a few rows of you. The new variant may be as contagious as measles. In short now is really the dumbest time to be talking about getting rid of masks as we are seeing record number of new daily covid cases in parts of the country

    1. ADF Guest

      "In what world would mask wearing be permanent if there was no covid spreading?"

      First of all, COVID is never going away, and will never stop spreading. That alone ensures that masks are permanent.

      Secondly, the answer to your question is quite simple: the world of which you speak is the one in which mask-wearing has become so ideological in nature that no serious discussion can be had about it (as evidenced by Rochelle Walensky...

      "In what world would mask wearing be permanent if there was no covid spreading?"

      First of all, COVID is never going away, and will never stop spreading. That alone ensures that masks are permanent.

      Secondly, the answer to your question is quite simple: the world of which you speak is the one in which mask-wearing has become so ideological in nature that no serious discussion can be had about it (as evidenced by Rochelle Walensky claiming, without any data whatsoever, that masks reduce infection by 80%, and that we should keep wearing them to protect from cold and flu, too). The mask-enforcers simply won't allow an honest discussion to be had.

      Thirdly, we are seeing huge surges in COVID cases DESPITE mask mandates still being in place. Clearly, they are not as effective as the mask-enforcers want people to believe they are.

      And finally, don't even try to pretend that a good portion of the mask-enforcers are not trying to sell the claim that they like wearing and won't ever voluntarily take them off. This is absolutely going on in certain circles.

  10. Robert Russo Guest

    If cases go down in the summer, I think Biden will want to declare victory over the pandemic before the midterms. That will mean lifting the mask mandate. Also, I don't think he will want to give the Republican candidates running in these close House and Senate races the chance to rail against permanently extending COVID restrictions. And even if it continues, remember, Fauci is not going to be around forever. Rochelle Walensky is not...

    If cases go down in the summer, I think Biden will want to declare victory over the pandemic before the midterms. That will mean lifting the mask mandate. Also, I don't think he will want to give the Republican candidates running in these close House and Senate races the chance to rail against permanently extending COVID restrictions. And even if it continues, remember, Fauci is not going to be around forever. Rochelle Walensky is not going to be director of the CDC forever. Biden is not going to be President forever. The next Republican President will lift it

    1. ADF Guest

      He's already tried declaring victory over COVID once. I think he'll be super gun-shy about doing it again. The absolute last thing he wants is to declare "victory" in the summer and then have yet another wave in the fall, as has happened before. And as for not wanting to give Republicans ammunition for arguing against endless COVID restrictions, why should he care? Dems are clearly on board with it.

  11. Donna Diamond

    As long as the pandemic keeps ramping up, there there seems to be no end in sight for the face mask mandate. Frankly, I couldn’t care less as long as the borders remain open and planes keep flying, I’m okay with the mask mandate. If the unvaccinated would get on board maybe there would be some light at the end of the tunnel. If not, this is the new normal.

    1. ADF Guest

      Vaccinated people can still transmit the disease. As long as that's the case (and it always will be), mask mandates are here to stay.

    2. Dan77W Guest

      If every single American was vaccinated (which in itself is fantasyland) Covid would still be circulating and new variants would still emerge overseas and spread here. Getting the citizenry to blame the non compliant instead of those in power is the easiest way to deflect from bad policy….that is a constant throughout history, keep that in the back of your mind when a politician or bureaucrat speaks (because any failure has to be someone else’s...

      If every single American was vaccinated (which in itself is fantasyland) Covid would still be circulating and new variants would still emerge overseas and spread here. Getting the citizenry to blame the non compliant instead of those in power is the easiest way to deflect from bad policy….that is a constant throughout history, keep that in the back of your mind when a politician or bureaucrat speaks (because any failure has to be someone else’s fault). This might very well (more likely than not) apply when looking back at this pandemic in multiple countries.

  12. Scott A. Thorson Guest

    Bravo Lucky! Reasonable, sensible and wise beyond your years. I appreciate to how unaffected you have became and truly seem to be a kind and caring individual. May peace and prosperity prevail.

  13. Mike Guest

    I expect Fauci will clarify in a day or so. I don't think any airline wants to permanently say that you have to wear a mask while flying. It doesn't represent a relaxing flight. It says passengers are vectors of disease to be avoided.

  14. sxc7885 New Member

    I agree with most that it wont be forever especially once a republican enters the White House.

    I see it playing out domestically as no mandate and individual choice but I internationally is a different story I could see you having to mandate it plane-wide based on if the destination country requires arrivals to be masked like when flying to France and you having to wear surgical or KN95 masks only and not cloth

  15. Michael M Guest

    Masks on flights are probably here for quite some time in to the future, both to protect the most vulnerable and because some people who know they are infected prior to boarding would choose to fly anyway and not wear a mask, simply because they don't care about the safety of others.

  16. Leigh Guest

    Oh gawd…I don’t know if I can bother to read what will inevitably be many messy comments.

    My opinion, in short…why is wearing a mask such a problem (unless for valid medical reasons)?

    It should be the same as using the safety belt, properly storing luggage in overhead bins or beneath the seat in front of you, complying with crew instructions, etc.

    What’s the big freakin’ deal?!

    1. Alonzo Gold

      You're right, it's not a big deal. But it would be nice to get back to a place of not having to wear it. Making it optional would be nice. But I don't see that until 2023.

    2. NYGuy24 Member

      The problem with making it option is that the anti-maskers will be putting everyone else at risk. The mask is as much if not more to protect other people from you than to protect you from other people.

    3. Dillyboi Guest

      If you are vaccinated and boosted why should you care? Especially with the air conditioning and pressurization architecture in an aircraft……Seems like you’ve moved past the science.

    4. Another Lump Guest

      Because it is a virtue signaling device, and there is no evidence that wearing a mask does anything except increase CO2 and moisture in your lungs. FFS it's been two years of mask wearing and we're still in this situation, worldwide. Nowhere has mask mandates stopped the spread. Nowhere.

      If lord Fauci says you must hop on one leg to stop the spread, you'd probably do it. So good job on being an obedient little drone.

    5. GBOAC Diamond

      @Another Lump: Please share the reports that "there is no evidence that wearing a mask does anything except increase CO2 and moisture in your lungs."
      Instead of listening to Lord another lump, I did my own research and found one of many that
      say just the opposite:
      https://www.kxan.com/news/coronavirus/do-face-masks-work-here-are-49-scientific-studies-that-explain-why-they-do/

    6. Mike Guest

      They ask you to wear the seatbelt. They don't mandate it except for takeoff and landing.

      If it's required, don't sell food or drinks.

    7. Speedbird Guest

      It’s uncomfortable, fogs up my glasses, increases your facial acne, and makes sleeping impossible.

    8. GBOAC Diamond

      @Speedbird: All of which are not nearly as uncomfortable as being in a hospital intubated. Just saying

    9. ADF Guest

      Well, as for my sake, I have skin irritation around my face and chin, so wearing masks is not just inconvenient, it's painful and potentially harmful.

      But also, I said way back in May 2020 that this was going to be permanent. No one believed it then, but I was right. I was even comparing it to seat belt laws before anyone else was, and I was telling people that mask mandates were going to...

      Well, as for my sake, I have skin irritation around my face and chin, so wearing masks is not just inconvenient, it's painful and potentially harmful.

      But also, I said way back in May 2020 that this was going to be permanent. No one believed it then, but I was right. I was even comparing it to seat belt laws before anyone else was, and I was telling people that mask mandates were going to be just as permanent as seat belt laws are. People laughed at me and laughed at me, but I was right.

  17. Santastico Guest

    Lord Fauci will be gone in 2024. Let’s Go Fauci!!!

  18. Robert Schrader Guest

    Masks have not been shown to meaningfully reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, or any respiratory virus. Every study that claims otherwise has been debunked; simply observing real-world case curves from around the world demonstrates the futility of mask mandates.

    Personally, I imagine masks on planes going away at some point in 2022, although plenty of people will still wear them.

    1. AesopnotJurlique New Member

      What? Which studies? Across the board “properly fitting masks” have been proven to help decrease transmission.

    2. Tim Dunn Gold

      Thank you, Robert.
      those that believe in masks come out of the woodwork whenever someone points out that there is no science to defend their use in a covid environment as worn by the general public.

      Add in that there ARE studies showing that aircraft filtration systems do practically eliminate the transmission of viruses and an aircraft is the LEAST justifiable place for asking people to wear masks. Businesses and schools have spent...

      Thank you, Robert.
      those that believe in masks come out of the woodwork whenever someone points out that there is no science to defend their use in a covid environment as worn by the general public.

      Add in that there ARE studies showing that aircraft filtration systems do practically eliminate the transmission of viruses and an aircraft is the LEAST justifiable place for asking people to wear masks. Businesses and schools have spent billions upgrading air filtration systems on the ground since the pandemic started.

      Never in the history of humanity has a virus been as closely tracked as covid-19 and yet there are still very few proven studies that show that most of the mitigation strategies actually work to eliminate risk to a level low enough to justify them. There is no balance between requirements and benefits and that needs to be factored in. A low double digit percentage reduction in risk even on the ground needs to be balanced w/ other factors and nobody is holding the medical experts that impose these requirements w/ the psychosocial factors of mitigation strategies that clearly matter.

      The covid 19 virus is likely on its last leg. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results from what has clearly not worked is the definition of insanity

  19. Rene Guest

    Usually I have a common cold every season. Since I started wearing a mask in public including on planes I didn't have a single one. If it is just for that, I am all for continuing doing it.

    1. Alonzo Gold

      Ever since I started taking probiotics 4 years ago, I haven't gotten sick. Correlation or nah?

  20. hartd8 New Member

    I sure Dr.F will find another reason to keep us all confined to masks on planes indefinitely!!! I would rather see the airlines keep up with the cleaning they started last March..that seems like a reasonable thing to do..but I am seeing less and less of it happening now ..but those masks,..,I love when the FA's say Masking is the "law"..It is not it is only a CDC mandate and probably Ilegal....

  21. Joe Guest

    For my part, I find it oh-so-convenenient for the airlines that their planes are SO FRIGGIN SAFE that 6 foot recommendations go out the window and they can so choose to jam pack the space with a few hundred people, meaning their profits are less at risk. And at the same time, there IS A RISK WE MUST NOT TAKE BECAUSE OMG LIVES MAY BE LOST and so masks need to be worn on planes.

    ...

    For my part, I find it oh-so-convenenient for the airlines that their planes are SO FRIGGIN SAFE that 6 foot recommendations go out the window and they can so choose to jam pack the space with a few hundred people, meaning their profits are less at risk. And at the same time, there IS A RISK WE MUST NOT TAKE BECAUSE OMG LIVES MAY BE LOST and so masks need to be worn on planes.

    As I see it, either we should reduce capacity and require masks, or if it's safe enough to pack it all in, masks can go out the window (not literally though, we don't want that on a plane )

  22. derek Guest

    All the filtration doesn't help enough. I sat next to someone with a cold a few years ago and I got the cold. The filtration system might be ok if it were so strong that you could feel a lot of wind.

    Even wind is not a guarantee. When the Supreme Court nominee had a White House press conference and ceremony outside, lots of people got Covid despite it being outdoors.

    I expect the...

    All the filtration doesn't help enough. I sat next to someone with a cold a few years ago and I got the cold. The filtration system might be ok if it were so strong that you could feel a lot of wind.

    Even wind is not a guarantee. When the Supreme Court nominee had a White House press conference and ceremony outside, lots of people got Covid despite it being outdoors.

    I expect the pandemic to be around in 2022 and 2023. Therefore, I don't expect the mask requirement to end before 2023.

    1. Marc Guest

      That was mostly because a huge part of that event was indoors away from cameras. Sports has been playing in full outdoor stadiums all year without super spreader events.

  23. Nathan Guest

    Chances of dying from COVID are the same as driving your car. No one bats an eyelid and drives their car. This silliness needs to stop and the petty tyrants need to go bye bye. Fauci's 15 mins are long over.
    The guy wearing women's stockings as a mask on a plane just exemplified how silly this has all gotten.
    Mid terms mean Biden's demise and yes looks very good for a Republicans...

    Chances of dying from COVID are the same as driving your car. No one bats an eyelid and drives their car. This silliness needs to stop and the petty tyrants need to go bye bye. Fauci's 15 mins are long over.
    The guy wearing women's stockings as a mask on a plane just exemplified how silly this has all gotten.
    Mid terms mean Biden's demise and yes looks very good for a Republicans pres and an end to all masking. As someone said you want COVID to go away stop watching CNN...its that easy

    1. GBOAC Diamond

      Please provide a reference for your claim that "Chances of dying from COVID are the same as driving your car" Did over 800,000 americans die in their cars in the last 20 months.

      For those that think this claim is way off, you are right. The death rate for car crashes is less than as a 1/10 of the COVID death rate.

    2. CHRIS Guest

      People like you don't listen to refences anyway. Kindly remove yourself from society until this is over.

    3. Bob Eldridge Guest

      The math here is simple. 800,000 people dying. Divided by 20 months divided by 50 states, works out to about 765 deaths per state per month. In Pennsylvania there are about 450+\- deaths from automobile accidents per month (2019). And,,,, despite all this covid hype, it’s only the number three killer in the US, behind cancer and heart disease… barely pushing out suicide . Last I looked they still sell cigarettes.!

    4. Joe Guest

      @Bob Eldridge:
      "In Pennsylvania there are about 450+\- deaths from automobile accidents per month (2019)"
      Um, no.
      In 2019 there were 1190 deaths in the entire year in Pennsylvania.
      Throughout an average year, 38,000 people in the entire country die from Car Accidents.

    5. Alonzo Gold

      You quote death like 800,000 perfectly healthy and normal body weight folks died. Let's be honest and say that the majority of deaths were among elderly and folks who were obese. Look at that statistic.

    6. George Romey Guest

      People don't understand that most peope are dying with COVID. They were going to die anyway because they were elderly or in very poor health. Of course, all the mask maniacs never talk about maybe not being obese and the health problems that come with it.

      I for one have spent not a nanosecond worrying about COVID. I live in Florida and the only time I wear a mask is when I fly. Somehow in...

      People don't understand that most peope are dying with COVID. They were going to die anyway because they were elderly or in very poor health. Of course, all the mask maniacs never talk about maybe not being obese and the health problems that come with it.

      I for one have spent not a nanosecond worrying about COVID. I live in Florida and the only time I wear a mask is when I fly. Somehow in 2 years I've managed not to die.

      It's a free country. Want to wear a mask, go ahead. But stop telling me what to do. I'm very capable of living without the nanny state.

    7. Joe Guest

      @George: incorrect. Our deaths in the U.S increased by 18% from 2019 to 2020. This proves that most of these people died of covid, and not "with" covid.

  24. JJH Member

    Regarding the comment about “those on Twitter who simply deny that vaccines or masks work”:

    Vaccines work wonders!!! Cloth masks do virtually nothing. We shouldn’t equate the two.

    Just to be clear, personally, I would prefer if they required proof that you’ve had three doses of an mRNA vaccine (the only combination that works against Omicron) to fly. That actually would do a lot to reduce the spread. A cloth mask, which can be taken...

    Regarding the comment about “those on Twitter who simply deny that vaccines or masks work”:

    Vaccines work wonders!!! Cloth masks do virtually nothing. We shouldn’t equate the two.

    Just to be clear, personally, I would prefer if they required proof that you’ve had three doses of an mRNA vaccine (the only combination that works against Omicron) to fly. That actually would do a lot to reduce the spread. A cloth mask, which can be taken off for much of the flight while you’re eating? Safety theater. If they required people to wear *N95* masks throughout the entire flight without any opportunity to remove them, THAT might do something. But just going through the motions of putting on these homespun masks for substantial portions of the flight (but not the whole thing), allowing them to slip off your nose much of the time, etc. — it’s useless. With Omicron, an infected individual will produce so much virus, and the mask requirement is so loose, that everyone around them will get infected whether they’re complying with the cloth mask policy or not. Omicron doesn’t observe some rule that, when you’re eating, it’s “time out” and won’t spread — just a few seconds are all it needs to blanket the air around you with virus particles.

    Don’t pretend wearing a cloth mask is even in the same league as the vaccine. It’s just not.

    1. John Guest

      How come we've rarely, if ever, heard the term "breakthrough infection" regarding a vaccine before these famous COVID vaccines?

      I don't know anyone who has had a case of chickenpox following a vaccine. Or measles. Or Hep.

      "Vaccines is never 100% effective".... I don't know, seems pretty close with everything else not named COVID.

    2. Duane Guest

      Know anyone that's gotten the flu after getting a flu shot?

    3. Joe Guest

      That you haven't heard of it doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

      Maybe you didn't hear about it because Chickenpox never caused pandemic levels of death, and so breakthrough cases were never newsworthy to begin with.

      But if you were honestly looking for an answer, you could've easily found it online. 20% of those with the chickenpox vaccine still contract Chickenpox, but the symptoms are generally milder than they otherwise would be.

      Sound familiar?

    4. GBOAC Diamond

      Joe, Thanks for your contribution of reality to this thread.

    5. John Guest

      Can you name anyone who has gotten a breakthrough from anything besides COVID? I can't, but I can name at least 2 senators TODAY that just got breakthrough infections from COVID.

    6. Joe Guest

      @John and Duane
      It seems like you have a difficult time comprehending correlation, and this is leading to irrational suspicion.
      Let me try again to help.

      We've been living with the flu/chickenpox/measles without those diseases causing any significant disruption to our way of life for several decades. Hence, those are not newsworthy/hot conversation topics. So follows that vaccines against those viruses are also not hot topics, and so follows that breakthrough cases of...

      @John and Duane
      It seems like you have a difficult time comprehending correlation, and this is leading to irrational suspicion.
      Let me try again to help.

      We've been living with the flu/chickenpox/measles without those diseases causing any significant disruption to our way of life for several decades. Hence, those are not newsworthy/hot conversation topics. So follows that vaccines against those viruses are also not hot topics, and so follows that breakthrough cases of those are also not headline dominating.

      Which helps explain why you haven't heard of anyone getting breakthrough cases of those.

      Meanwhile, COVID is new, it's causing tens of thousands of deaths each month, and it's disrupting our lives in multiple ways. It dominates the headlines, and so follows that fighting back by vaccinating also dominates headlines, and so follows that breakthrough cases dominate headlines.

      Which explains why you likely have heard of and know people who have breakthrough cases of COVID.

    7. Jason H Guest

      I have a friend that lost his 8 year old daughter to the flu, despite being vaccinated against the flu. It happens with every vaccine. The science behind vaccines is well established and any doctor will say that a vaccine is never 100% effective. A virus is a fast mutating entity, but a vaccine offers you some protection against most mutations.

      I'd also point out that we are constantly infected by another coronavirus, the common...

      I have a friend that lost his 8 year old daughter to the flu, despite being vaccinated against the flu. It happens with every vaccine. The science behind vaccines is well established and any doctor will say that a vaccine is never 100% effective. A virus is a fast mutating entity, but a vaccine offers you some protection against most mutations.

      I'd also point out that we are constantly infected by another coronavirus, the common cold. We haven't found a vaccine against the rhinovirus because the speed at which is mutates makes it a tough task.

  25. Will Guest

    Well, Fauci will be out of a job in 2024

  26. David Guest

    Everyday we get closer to 2024. Happy to have the attention hungry Faucui contributing to the demise of those who want to keep us under their thumb.

  27. UA-NYC Diamond

    Happy to have the vaccinated not have to mask up. Anti-vaxxers, the ones overwhelming hospitals and using all the ventilators in the US right now...you get to mask up indefinitely when flying.

    1. UA-NYC Diamond

      Maybe you bury your head in a (Faux News) hole...but ~90% of the Covid hospitalizations and deaths are among the unvaccinated these days.

  28. Tim Dunn Gold

    Ben's interpretation and conclusions of what Fauci said are accurate according to other news sources and he (Ben) has nothing to apologize for in how he reported it. (I did not see this article from the beginning but what he says now is absolutely accurate and reasonable.)
    Fauci's reign will end w/ Dem control of the Legislature not because of his medical advice which can be interpreted a million ways but by his repeated...

    Ben's interpretation and conclusions of what Fauci said are accurate according to other news sources and he (Ben) has nothing to apologize for in how he reported it. (I did not see this article from the beginning but what he says now is absolutely accurate and reasonable.)
    Fauci's reign will end w/ Dem control of the Legislature not because of his medical advice which can be interpreted a million ways but by his repeated statements that he did not provide any funding - direct or indirect - for gain of function research.
    Add in the horrific puppy and money research that has come to light and Fauci won't have any say for much longer.

  29. George Romey Guest

    COVID like the flu and the common cold is with us. The vax isn't going to stop it, neither masks. While it's long overdue to put an end to this hysteria and silence the cretin that will extend it so that he can continue to get invited back to CNN I don't see it going away. Now maybe a President DeSantis will finally put an end to this stupidity in 2025.

    1. GBOAC Diamond

      Has the flu killed 800,000 americans in the last 20 months? Has the common cold killed 800,000 people in the last 20 months?
      Are there 10,000s of people living with Long Flu?
      Asking for a friend.

    2. CHRIS Guest

      *500,000 of those death under the Brandon administration.

    3. GBOAC Diamond

      Folks:
      Notice how Chris uses a standard cultist technique of deflection to avoid addressing the point raised.

    4. Another Lump Guest

      And you obfuscate by pretending like we want covid here. We don't. We just accept the reality that masks are not an effective method to stop it, and certainly not worthy of giving up our freedoms that will be very hard to get back, as little faucini shows you. Please tell us all a country, locality, etc that stopped covid by masking. I'll wait.

    5. Joe Guest

      "Please tell us all a country, locality, etc that stopped covid by masking. I'll wait."

      Your argument is a straw man. The purpose of masks is to slow and reduce the spread, as is with vaccines. Claiming that the only satisfactory evidence would be a full-eradication of the virus in a specific municipality--- that's completely asinine.

      Might as well be asking for a country that stopped cancer with chemotherapy treatments.

    6. panda Member

      Did the flu ever require emergency hospitalization for the POTUS and UK Prime Minister in the same year? COVID-19 did in 2020.

  30. SEM Guest

    "Frankly it’s hard to have any reasonable discussions around masking or coronavirus, at least online. "

    Most insightful sentence of the piece... I 100% agree... I do appreciate the relatively moderate tone of the post...

  31. GBOAC Diamond

    Ben states:
    "There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground between the people feel the need to tell everyone on Twitter how much they enjoy wearing masks, and those on Twitter who simply deny that vaccines or masks work"
    I'm calling BS on your statement.There is a huge middle ground of folks like me who don't particularly want to have to wear masks, but so do because it is the right and prudent thing to do.
    And I guess we don't waste our time on Twitter:-)

    1. panda Member

      This^^^. Twitter and thoughtful discussion don’t go together.

  32. panda Guest

    It’s a Catch-22 question. He’s obviously not going to give any predictive timeline because the anti-maskers will harp any date given and he’s not a fortune teller.

  33. UK Guest

    We’ve seen how masks have decreased the transmissibility of not just covid but other routine illnesses.

    As a doctor, I’d be happy to continue wearing a mask in public indefinitely (even if mandates are removed).

  34. Bob Guest

    Wow, overreact much, Ben?

    The risk-averse infectious disease doctor saying "you should wear a mask on a plane, it is prudent to do so" is a LONG WAY away from a permanent requirement to do so as policy.

    Someone can say it is prudent to do something; while not meaning that that something should be a mandated requirement.

  35. Jimmy’s Travel Report Member

    Ben, I really enjoy your blog and you’re pretty good about not including much hyperbole in your writing, but this is what Fauci said: “I still believe that masks are a prudent thing to do, and we should be doing it.” The title of this post is: “Fauci Thinks Masking On Airplanes Is Here To Stay”

    You’re exaggerating the story with the title of the post, and it borders on click bait.

  36. david Guest

    Masking is a cheap, easy, and effective way to prevent the spread of not just COVID-19 but every single respiratory disease. It significantly reduces the chance that a passenger and his or her family will have a vacation ruined because of the sick family in the row behind them. Why not mask forever? It's the considerate and kind thing to do.

    1. jcil Guest

      Where else should we wear masks forever?

    2. John Guest

      The bedroom. COVID is the new STD, so bag it up!

    3. greg99 Member

      Anyplace else where you have a couple of hundred people packed together in close proximity.

  37. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

    Some people had a different interpretation of Dr. Fauci's comments than I did (and I can see where they're coming from). So I went ahead and updated the post to reflect the different perspectives on Fauci's comments. Sorry for any confusion...

  38. Alonzo Gold

    This is what people want to feel comfortable. Masking will not go away on planes until at the very least, 2024.

  39. Stuart Guest

    I think you are making too much of this. Fauci is obviously stating that masks will be on planes as long as we have case numbers like we do. I fail to see at all where he said anything about masking in planes forever post Covid.

  40. Pauls98 New Member

    I think he was answering the question in the face of the ongoing pandemic...not for FOREVER.

  41. Clem Diamond

    Like others said, I don't think he meant that we will have to wear masks on plane forever. The way I read it is that he thinks that for the foreseeable future, and especially with extremely highly contagious variants like omicron, it will be a while before it will be reasonable to take them off (which in my uneducated opinion may be when we have both vaccines AND treatments widely available for everyone in the world and not just rich countries).

  42. Mike Guest

    Masks forever—right, OMAAT? I guess if my three-year-old lowers his mask, we’ll risk being David Daoed off the plane. How did it get to the point that a piece of cloth is the answer to everything?

    1. John Guest

      When we determined that my bottled water and toothpaste can take down an airplane

    2. Andrew Gold

      And your shoes. Unless you pay $100 every 5 years for Global Entry. Then you're not a terrorist.

  43. Alexander Guest

    I would say there is a decent amount to parse here - ask any public health official if "masking is here to stay" and they'd say of course, people are going to keep up the behavior.

    Are *mandates* here to stay? Of course not - unless we're facing down a future of indefinite 3 month at a time health orders. Which I'd say an election or two would shift the outcome.

    Do I...

    I would say there is a decent amount to parse here - ask any public health official if "masking is here to stay" and they'd say of course, people are going to keep up the behavior.

    Are *mandates* here to stay? Of course not - unless we're facing down a future of indefinite 3 month at a time health orders. Which I'd say an election or two would shift the outcome.

    Do I agree with the public health officials? In my opinion, also no - because we did this before in 1918 and it ultimately didn't stick. We don't have a collectivist mindset like other regions of the world and we're eventually going to snap back to old behaviors.

  44. Rjb Guest

    Fauci has yet to be correct on anything. Pure speculation, conjecture and outright falsehoods from him. Read his emails.

  45. Elijah Guest

    I think you might be reading a bit too much into it. I don’t think he meant that we’ll be wearing masks on planes until the end of time necessarily. He was just dismissing the notion that filtration alone is enough in places that cramped. The question was a bit oddly phrased since it was a mix of present and forward-looking, but I think if you asked Fauci point blank if we’ll be wearing masks...

    I think you might be reading a bit too much into it. I don’t think he meant that we’ll be wearing masks on planes until the end of time necessarily. He was just dismissing the notion that filtration alone is enough in places that cramped. The question was a bit oddly phrased since it was a mix of present and forward-looking, but I think if you asked Fauci point blank if we’ll be wearing masks on planes forever, the answer would be a lot more wishy-washy since, like you said, we just don’t know what’s to come.

    1. Kenneth Tanen Guest

      I also feel that once we get updated vaccines and anti-covid pills available, then masks should become optional. I say this because now we have another resource in the tool box to treat covid. I addition, there are a lot of families canceling trips because there are many kids and adults who truely can't tolerate a mask. That's why I feel that as soon as updated vaccines and anticovid pills become available, then it should...

      I also feel that once we get updated vaccines and anti-covid pills available, then masks should become optional. I say this because now we have another resource in the tool box to treat covid. I addition, there are a lot of families canceling trips because there are many kids and adults who truely can't tolerate a mask. That's why I feel that as soon as updated vaccines and anticovid pills become available, then it should be optional also because those that wish to wear a mask will always do so.

  46. DCS Diamond

    Fauci was clearly answering a different question, and not whether masking on airplanes was here to stay...

  47. MRM Guest

    You’re taking his statement out of context. Must be a slow blog day…

  48. Nolan Guest

    There has to be an end to this at some point

    1. Greg Guest

      Why does there have to be an end? Unfortunately, just because it's unpleasant and may require personal sacrifices doesn't mean it has to end.

    2. GBOAC Diamond

      Nolan asks: here has to be an end to this at some point
      Is there going to be end to taking your shoes off at a TSA checkpoint?

    3. ADF Guest

      Why? Seriously, why? People keep saying this, but there's no reason to believe it's true. Why does this have to end? People like Fauci have literally no incentive for it to end.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Jimmy’s Travel Report Member

Ben, I really enjoy your blog and you’re pretty good about not including much hyperbole in your writing, but this is what Fauci said: “I still believe that masks are a prudent thing to do, and we should be doing it.” The title of this post is: “Fauci Thinks Masking On Airplanes Is Here To Stay” You’re exaggerating the story with the title of the post, and it borders on click bait.

6
SEM Guest

"Frankly it’s hard to have any reasonable discussions around masking or coronavirus, at least online. " Most insightful sentence of the piece... I 100% agree... I do appreciate the relatively moderate tone of the post...

4
Robert Schrader Guest

Masks have not been shown to meaningfully reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, or any respiratory virus. Every study that claims otherwise has been debunked; simply observing real-world case curves from around the world demonstrates the futility of mask mandates. Personally, I imagine masks on planes going away at some point in 2022, although plenty of people will still wear them.

3
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