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David J. Danto

 

Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion

 

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eMail: ddanto@IMCCA.org††††† Follow Industry News: @NJDavidD

 

Who Was That Masked ManÖ

 

Uch.In my household thatís the sound we make when faced with sheer stupidity. Itís really the best reaction to what is going on with airlines and COVID19 right now.An idiot judge said that the CDC didnít have the authority to make passengers wear a mask, the TSA said theyíd no longer enforce it and therefore the airlines have removed the requirement.†††

Mind you, the TSA is the same authority that makes you take off your shoes and unpack your bags to get through insane security, so claiming they donít have the authority is very disingenuous, but it is what it is.

The major US airlines have quickly responded, saying that masking is now optional.

Letís be clear that ďoptionalĒ masking is not a real choice.As Iíve mentioned before, itís like saying that peeing in the pool is optional Ė the people that choose not to urinate in the community pool still have to swim in other peopleís mess Ė they donít get the option of a clean environment if even just one other person chooses to mess it up for everyone.

Masks protected us in two ways.They minimized the distance that possibly infected air would travel, and they Ė depending on the type worn Ė reduced the amount of viruses, bacteria and other tiny particles that would get into oneís lungs.Letís detail both of those one at a time.

Transmission Distance: Science Ė even individual experiments in peopleís garages Ė showed that masks Ė even cheap cloth ones Ė reduced the travel distance of exhaled air and the possibly infected droplets within it.

With droplets now traveling unobstructed on maskless passengers, the chances of being exposed to COVID19 have gone up exponentially.

Individual Protection: Wearing an N95 or KN95 mask (like the ones Iíve been recommending for nearly the entire pandemic) reduce the amount of virus that gets into your mouth and lungs.The better the mask the more protection afforded.If one inhales only some COVID19 virus (a small viral load) then one might not have as bad an infection.If one inhales more COVID 19 virus (a larger viral load) then the chances of a far worse infection are much higher.The image below shows how much protection (in general) one gets from masks with and without a potentially infected person wearing masks as well.

So, the protection that someone wearing an N95 mask had when everyone was required to wear a cloth mask (estimated to be at 3.3 hours) goes down to 2.5 hours when the infected person is maskless.

If I had the choice Iíd stop flying and taking public transportation now that peeing in the pool is condoned.Regrettably, I have business commitments and have to travel on aircraft.What will I be doing?Iíll be double masking.Iíll be wearing this N95 mask with this surgical mask over the top of it.The surgical mask will trap some particles before they get to the N95 and it will allow me to wear the N95 for longer periods of time before disposal.(I learned about this method from the healthcare professionals I saw during the last two years.Most of them followed this method to stay as safe as possible from those people who were not obviously infected with COVID19 but might be.)

It also means that eating and drinking on flights is no longer acceptable to me.The risk to someone when lifting their mask to take a sip/bite then masking-up again immediately afterward is now much greater because their fellow passengers are not covering their nose and mouth.My next few trips are now going to be some looooong flights.

So, sadly, we live in world where being smart about things is not a requirement.Everyone is tired of COVID19 so they are eliminating precautions, either because they want a return to a life before it was around, or because theyíre worried about the political ramifications of the annoyingly difficult decisions required to prevent it.

The good news is that while the COVID19 positivity rate is currently soaring around the country, the death rate is staying low Ė as treatments are available and the latest variants are less deadly.Thatís good, but it doesnít mean this is over.The very definition of a variant means it is subject to change as the virus mutates.Letís hope the next one doesnít start killing us all.

As for me, if necessary, Iíll be the Lone Smart Person on my flights.Iíll add the William Tell Overture to my smartphone playlist and keep an eye out for Tonto.††††

 

 

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This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.

All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.

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As always, feel free to write and comment, question or disagree.Hearing from the traveling community is always a highlight for me.Thanks!