Ending the Mask Mandates

It’s time to put an end to mask mandates, but some politicians just can’t break the habit. They are holding on to this last piece of control over the American public, like a junky trying to get the last drop of heroin out of the syringe.

In a recent post I discussed the absurdity of mask mandates for toddlers, the least vulnerable members of our population (Florida v. New York Covid Guidelines for Children). The good news of that story, however, was that mask mandates were eliminated for all public-school children over age 5. The distinction had to do with vaccinations, which are not available for children under age 5.

In nearly every other public circumstance, masks are no longer required – except for public transportation. The Biden administration continues to demand masks for everyone on pubic transportation, especially airplanes, buses, and trains. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a statement that said, “Public transportation and transportation hubs are places where people across communities congregate, often for extended periods and in close quarters. The determination of the timeline and circumstances under which masks should be required in these settings should be guided by science, not politics.”

I couldn’t agree more. The problem is there is no evidence that masks have any significant impact on preventing the spread of Covid. Yet the Biden administration claims they are “following the science.” Those three words have been repeatedly used to justify decisions that are in fact political, not scientific.

It seems there is bipartisan agreement on this issue, a truly rare phenomenon in this Congress. The Washington Examiner reports the Senate voted 57-40 to pass a resolution sponsored by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, an ophthalmologist. The only Republican voting against the bill was Mitt Romney of Utah.  Eight Democrats supported the resolution. The resolution would use the Congressional Review Act to try to roll back the rule, which the Biden administration just extended to April 18 as it was about to expire on March 18. While the resolution probably won’t get the necessary votes in the House of Representatives, it demonstrates clearly that support for the administration’s Covid guidelines is collapsing.

Senator Paul said, “Since March 2020, unelected bureaucrats have incessantly declared that we should ‘follow the science.’ But the same bureaucrats continue to defy science by imposing an ineffective and restrictive mask mandate for individuals traveling on public transit and airplanes. As the entire world is learning to live with Covid, the federal government still uses fearmongering to stubbornly perpetuate its mandates rather than giving clear-eyed rational advice on how to best protect yourself from illness. That is why I am forcing a vote to repeal travel mask mandates on public transportation and put a stop to its anti-science nanny-state requirement.”

This requirement seems particularly unnecessary on airplanes which contain air circulation and filtration systems equal to surgical operating rooms. While travel may increase the risks of disease by close quarters with strangers, there is no evidence that masks lower that risk. Removing mandates does not restrict those who still feel more comfortable wearing masks, but rather frees those who are comfortable without them. Once people understand the risks of the disease, they should be free to take whatever precautions they choose – or not choose – to apply. It’s time for the government to give people back their freedom of choice.

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