By Jefferey Jaxen

UPDATE 3/17: JetBlue, American, Southwest pilots sue CDC over federal mask mandate

UPDATE 3/16: Senate Passes Resolution to End Mask Rules on Transportation

Set to expire on March 18, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), on direction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), extended mask mandates on public transportation. 

The rest of the world is opening up and moving into the new normal of endemic Covid, where it is less lethal than a bad flu and early treatments are being allowed by forward-thinking leaders bucking the CDC

Trade organizations representing some of the biggest players in the U.S. travel industry including airlines American, Delta and United, and hotel companies Marriott and Hilton according to NPR, all but begged the TSA and CDC in an open letter to end ‘pandemic-focused’ restrictions and replace them with “endemic-focused policies of a “new normal” that enable travel to resume fully, freely and safely.”

No dice. 

The American mask has been more successful as a tool for psychological manipulation than a legitimate public health measure having any meaningful impact on the trajectory of the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, Heathrow Airport, the largest in UK and second biggest in Europe, has just announced an end to wearing face coverings at the airport effective March 16. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are set to make mask-wearing optional. 

All four nations in the UK have also agreed to eradicate the remaining international travel restrictions, allowing all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to enter the UK without testing from March 18 onwards media is reporting

The CDC’s past due and unscientific muzzle extension, as implemented by the TSA, has received hard pushback from all sides.

The Informed Action Network, via its CEO Del Bigtree is pushing a lawsuit against America’s  public health leaders from the both the HHS and CDC to end the mandates. The suit adds “It is an affront to all Americans that the federal government requires Americans to wear masks…while not imposing the same requirement on themselves

Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) is leading sixteen of his colleagues in a lawsuit against the CDC.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not have the legal authority to force people traveling on commercial airlines to wear masks,” Massie said in a statement. “Congress never passed a law requiring masks on commercial flights. This lawsuit targets the faceless bureaucrats who are behind the CDC’s unscientific regulation so that this illegal mask mandate can be brought to a permanent end.”

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says he will force a vote on legislation to repeal the travel mandate saying in a statement:  

“As the entire world is learning to live with COVID, the federal government still uses fear mongering to stubbornly perpetuate its mandates, rather than giving clear-eyed, rational advice on how to best protect yourself from illness,” the senator continued. “That is why I am forcing a vote to repeal travel mask mandates on public transportation and put a stop to this anti-science, nanny state requirement.”

Of note, a recent survey from YouGov and Americans for Prosperity found that 49% of people said their trust in the CDC has gone way down or slightly down since the start of the pandemic. The survey of Americans also found:

  • 59% said public officials did a somewhat or very poor job of being transparent with the public about the information being used and the reasoning regarding any restrictions or requirements.
  • 55% think officials have done a poor job re-assessing any restrictions or requirements.
  • 52 % said officials did a poor job keeping any restrictions or requirements as focused and narrow as possible.

Will the TSA’s mask policy extension survive until April 18th or will it be repealed beforehand by the increasing legal, political and social pressures?

Jefferey Jaxen

Jefferey Jaxen is a health journalist and featured in his weekly segment, ’The Jaxen Report’, on The HighWire. As an investigative journalist, researcher, and compelling writer, Jefferey serves as Lead editor of The HighWire News and Opinion Team.