Ashish Jha, the White House's new COVID response coordinator, said on Mon. that an extension of the federal transportation mask mandate that applies to airplanes, buses and trains is "absolutely on the table."
The emergence of two new Omicron subvariants has led to a steady rise in cases recently, but Jha stated that he was not "excessively concerned."
As much as we would like it to be, COVID isn't over yet. Not everyone who boards a plane is vaccinated, and even those who are don't have 100% protection. With the highly-transmissible Omicron BA.2 subvariant on the rise globally, we need to think twice about lifting airline restrictions.
We've entered another chapter in the pandemic. Omicron BA.2 may be spreading more rapidly and even bringing re-infections, but what matters is severe illness and death - which is trending down toward levels not that different from seasonal flu. Let's respect the public's pandemic fatigue and start moving on.