Flight attendants’ and teachers’ unions whose members are on the front lines of disputed Covid safety protocols are ardent enforcers of mask mandates for the public but do not require their members to get vaccinated. Such inoculation is widely acknowledged as the most effective step in stopping the spread of the new Delta variant, while masking is viewed as of secondary importance, and many are highly skeptical of its effectiveness and critical of its inconvenience.
As the Association of Flight Attendants continues to urge federal authorities to allow flight attendants to police passengers for masking – a policy that has led to fisticuffs on some flights – the union has struck an agreement with at least one airline, United, to allow unvaccinated members to fly. American Airlines and Southwest Air say they also do not require their flight attendants or other employees to vaccinate. Flight attendants for both airlines are unionized.
Last March, I followed the CDC’s advice and got fully vaccinated against COVID-19. I did so more out of a sense of civic duty than any actual fear that I might contract the virus. It was just an easy and scientifically sound way to help slow its spread. Naturally, I was delighted when the CDC finally announced that fully vaccinated people could safely participate in indoor and outdoor activities without wearing inconvenient and clinically useless face masks. Now, the CDC has reversed itself and issued new guidance telling 163.6 million fully vaccinated Americans to put our masks back on. Sorry, no sale.
First, the CDC published no data supporting its bizarre reversal. The Washington Post reports: “In the text of the updated masking guidance, the agency merely cited ‘CDC COVID-19 Response Team, unpublished data, 2021.’” Moreover, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is struggling to produce a plausible explanation. She claimed without evidence on ABC News that “new science” has emerged showing that fully vaccinated people should be masking.
School districts across the country are beginning to impose mask mandates for all students and staff this fall. Officials in Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, DC declared last week that everyone in school buildings will be required to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.
These school districts are going beyond current CDC guidelines, which recommend masking for unvaccinated students and staff only. Instead, they seem to be embracing the masking stance of the American Academy of Pediatrics which announced last week that all students over age two, as well as staff, should wear masks at school even if they are vaccinated.
If you want to know, up close and personal, the banality of evil, attend a school board meeting. With critical race theory and forced vaccination and masking all the rage, I did just that last night.
This board meeting wasn’t my first. When I was a kid, my dad ran for school board and won after a terrible teacher (a feel-good hippie) allowed one of my classmates to steal my work all year and put his name on it. Said teacher taught us second-graders macramé and little else. My family had moved from a high-performing school district to this less-than-stellar place. For about three years, I learned nothing new. My parents were incensed. So my dad ran for board treasurer, got elected, and promptly pissed everyone off.
As COVID-19 cases surge in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is expanding her mask mandate order to include toddlers.
“The mask requirement previously exempted children younger than the age of 5. Expanding the mask rule to children ages 2 to 4 also requires ‘a good faith effort to ensure that these children wear masks while in gatherings at childcare facilities or camps,'” according to The Detroit News.
Despite continued COVID-19 restrictions, including social distancing, limited capacity inside businesses, and mask mandates, Michigan has more COVID-19 hospitalizations than Texas, which dropped all of its COVID-19 restrictions about one month ago.
Associated Press reporter David Eggert attended a ceremony at Ford Field on Tuesday where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was vaccinated. He reported that the state has 3100 hospitalizations for COVID-19, an increase from 2600 last Friday.
On Tuesday, governors Greg Abbott (R-Texas) and Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) announced they would be lifting their statewide mask-wearing mandates, business capacity limitations, and various other COVID-19-related restrictions. “COVID still exists,” Abbott said, “but it is clear from the recoveries, from the vaccinations, from the reduced hospitalizations, and from the safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed.”
Texans and Mississippians might be forgiven for wondering why their governors did not earlier follow the courageous path of Governor Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), who has garnered national headlines for her stubborn refusal to enact various mask-wearing mandates and other lockdown orders. But still: Better late than never.