A court decision annuls the federal mandate and leaves the door open for local authorities
The covid is dead, long live individual freedoms. Those are the conclusions drawn from the 59-page court ruling that ended the mask mandate in the US on Monday. Of course, neither is true. Not even the covid has disappeared -the BA.2 version is on the rise-, nor will public health remain in the hands of each individual, but the speed at which the masks fell yesterday speaks of the boredom of the population after two years of the pandemic.
Also the silence of the White House. Nobody can explain how the sentence of Florida judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, appointed by Donald Trump in his last hours after losing the elections, could have taken him by surprise. The truth is that the government of Joe Biden contributed to the uncertainty due to the time it took to weigh the pros and cons of appealing the decision. The bar association considered at the time that what would be the youngest judge in the country, at 33, did not have enough experience to deserve her support for the life position. The Republican Party closed ranks to endorse her appointment, in a political movement that senators can now boast of in the face of the November legislative elections, due to the repercussion that Monday’s controversial sentence will have.
As soon as the news broke, masks started falling from the sky. Alaska Airlines, which last year blacklisted state Sen. Lora Reinbold for confronting a flight attendant over not wanting to wear a mask, was one of the first airlines to tell passengers they were free to remove it. Jetblue, United, Delta, American, Frontier and a host of others gradually followed the measure, to widespread bewilderment.
jubilation and dismay
There were exclamations of joy and sighs of dismay. Some cheered freedom and others feared for their health. Certainly “there was and still is tension in the skies,” acknowledged John Samuelsen, president of the Transport Workers union. Last year alone, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recorded almost 6,000 incidents of passengers revolting in mid-flight, of which more than 70% were due to the imposition of the mask. That served the federal agency to pocket five million dollars in fines, which reached up to 35,000 dollars and threatened to include prison sentences for those who assaulted flight personnel.
That is why the executives of the main airlines had quietly lobbied the White House not to renew the mandatory use of a mask on federal transport in exchange for maintaining peace in the skies. Oblivious to that claim, the Biden government renewed the mandate last week until May 3, arguing that “since the beginning of April there has been an increase in cases in the seven-day average that requires evaluating the potential impact in severe cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” said the Center for Infectious Disease Control (CDC).
If the decision was already unpopular, it would have been much easier to appeal the sentence, with no guarantee that the appeals court would differ from it. By letting this hot potato slip by, many believe that the Biden administration has failed the agency that Judge Mizelle says is overstepping its bounds and “failed to account for the passage of time” in its public emergency declaration. . However, if the government had lost the case on appeal, the agency would be tied hand and foot to act in the next pandemic. The solution, for the moment, has been to leave it in the hands of each local authority and the sacrosanct private company, with the consequent cacophony of contradictory orders that allow a passenger to board a plane without a mask in Houston, but have to put it on when getting off the plane. same in New York.
#masks #lowered #transport