The US Government and Airlines Are Doing Their Best to Ensure Travel Won’t Recover Soon

Government Regulation

In the last couple weeks, two things happened that made me look even closer at COVID air travel rules than ever before. First, I got a symptomatic breakthrough case of COVID after having received the Pfizer vaccine earlier this year. Second, Cranky Concierge started receiving more and more people either inquiring about or actually canceling international travel this fall. After looking into this more deeply, I found myself getting angrier and angrier.

Both the US government and the airlines are going to ruin this travel recovery if they don’t get their acts together and implement sensible policies.

Original airport photo by davidbenito/CC BY-SA 2.0

What has become clear this summer is that the Delta variant is ready when you are. Vaccinated? You might be prepared, but with Delta being so highly transmissible, there’s a better chance you’ll get infected than you probably thought. The good news is that if you are vaccinated, the chances of you ending up in the hospital or dead are tiny. It’s probably too early to know an accurate rate per 100,000 vaccinated people, but I’ll bet it ends up being less than the flu during a bad season.

Yes, kids under 12 are a concern since they can’t get vaccinated, but so far they still tend to have much better outcomes than adults… and a vaccine is coming. As for unvaccinated adults in the US, frankly, I don’t care what happens to them. They’ve done this to themselves, and the consequences are their problem. (Though please get the shot, so you don’t become a breeding ground for even worse variants, people.)

Because there is a vaccine, we need to be managing this differently than we did a year ago, but we aren’t doing that. Should we still require masking while the virus is spreading rapidly? Yes, we should. But should we still have sweeping travel bans and rigid but useless testing requirements? No, we should not.

The Government Fails in Two Ways

The US government is making two main mistakes here. First, you have the requirement for Americans to get tested within 3 days before returning to the US if they travel abroad. If they test positive, they are stuck until they get better. That’s not something that everyone can or is willing to risk.

This is bad policy, but what makes it even more ridiculous is that the tests are far too inaccurate to be trusted as gospel. Sure there are some tests that are more accurate than others, but those aren’t required. You can use something like the Abbott BinaxNOW do-it-yourself test (with eMed’s virtual assistance). These are cheap, and they look like pregnancy tests with two pink lines if you have COVID and one if you don’t.

Apparently BinaxNOW only catches positive tests 84.6 percent of the time in people within 7 days of the onset of symptoms. That means 15 percent of people who are sick can get a false negative test and still come home. I don’t know what the numbers look like for people who are asymptomatic. (I should note, my wife and I did this test when we first thought we had it. I came back positive, but she was wrongly shown as negative.)

If the tests are wrong often, and the most likely outcome is a mild case for the vaccinated, why are we forcing travelers to stay abroad if they get sick? It’s not like the travel ban has prevented new variants from getting into the US. Refusing entry to Americans who test positive is a 2020 answer, not one that has a place in the world today.

On the other side, we have foreign citizens, many of whom aren’t allowed in the US thanks to arbitrary rules that were put in place more than a year ago and — like the testing rule — have no relevance in today’s world. The European Union is the worst example of this. It was put on the list when outbreaks began in Italy at the very beginning of the pandemic. Now the ban remains simply because of inertia.

In the week before I wrote this, the countries with the highest number of new daily cases per 100,000 people were Fiji, Botswana, and Georgia. None of those are on the CDC banned list. But Poland, which has a tiny fraction of those cases? That’s on the banned list. And the ban is crazy. If you’ve been in those countries at any time in the last 14 days, you can’t come to the US… unless you want to lie. There are ways around it which makes this whole game even sillier.

The Airlines Share In the Pain

I’ve reserved much of my ire for the government so far, but the airlines deserve their share as well. When I tested positive, I had a trip coming to Seattle three days later. I knew I wasn’t going to be taking that trip. But I had another trip that was 14 days later, and I already knew I wouldn’t be allowed to go.

I was booked to fly on United, and United has set its rules for all travelers as follows:

  • You have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days and are not awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test.
  • You have reviewed CDC guidelines on the symptoms of COVID-19 and have not experienced any in the last 14 days.
  • You have completed your quarantine after your last exposure to COVID-19 or you met the CDC criteria to forego quarantine because you have been fully vaccinated and have no symptoms.

That’s right. You have to be symptom-free for 14 days. Let’s say I got sick after I took my outbound flight. If I had to be symptom-free for 14 days before I could board a United flight again, it might be a month before I could come home. Sure, you can lie, if you’re able to hide your symptoms, but that is not the kind of behavior airlines should be encouraging. Besides, this requirement is not based in science or reality anyway.

The CDC itself says that infected travelers can stop taking precautions and isolating 10 days after symptom onset as long as there hasn’t been a fever for over 24 hours and other symptoms are improving. No symptoms but you’ve tested positive? CDC still says after 10 days you’re good to go. The only exception appears to be those who are immuno-compromised or those with severe illness (in the hospital) who should wait 20 days.

I asked United why it wasn’t aligned with the CDC. The response?

The requirements of our Ready to Fly Checklist are in line with CDC guidance and we are not more strict than they are.

So apparently United itself doesn’t even understand the CDC guidance which can’t bode well for travelers or employees trying to figure this out. My first assumption here was that United simply tried to align with CDC guidance for unvaccinated travelers who have been exposed to the virus, not vaccinated travelers nor those who test positive. But after back and forth with the airline’s communications team, I was told that the first bullet point applies to those who test positive while the second two only apply to those who are exposed. It doesn’t say this anywhere publicly, and I imagine it would be hard to convince an eagle-eyed gate agent that this was the case anyway. I’m not sure if they just made that up or if they are impressively bad at putting the policy into words.

Yes, the CDC deserves some blame for being as clear as mud, but United should be doing a lot better than this. As if it’s not hard enough deciphering what United means, other airlines all have different rules which make it even more confusing.

American says you have to be symptom-free for 10 days, again well above and beyond CDC guidance. I also asked American why it wasn’t aligned with the CDC, and I was told “we’re in the process of updating our attestation language to align with CDC guidance.” Since CDC guidance hasn’t changed for some time, I interpret this as “uh, well, since you brought it up, we probably should line up with what CDC says.” I was given no timeline for that change.

JetBlue has the same policy as American… at least, it does until American changes… assuming it eventually does so. And American’s other domestic partner Alaska? It’s gone totally off on its own and says travelers can’t have had symptoms in the last 72 hours. I’m sure all those codeshare passengers are really keeping up on this.

Southwest is closer to CDC guidance in that it says you just can’t have symptoms when you fly. But CDC says you’re ok if it’s been 10 days since symptom onset and the symptoms are improving. Southwest doesn’t care if they’re improving. Symptoms have to be gone.

The only airline doing this the right way is Delta which seems to actually be following CDC protocol for those who have been infected. I guess that’s what happens when you hire yourself a Chief Health Officer. You have plenty of people to actually pay attention to these things.

All these bad government and airline policies do is confuse travelers and prevent them from booking trips. Oh, and they scare the hell out of people, sometimes enough to get them to cancel their travels. That is not what we should be doing in the US right now. People need to know that if they get sick abroad, they can come home. And if they get sick, they need to know that CDC guidance will be followed by travel providers. This absurd collection of senseless requirements is just making everything worse, and it is only going to hurt the recovery without providing a real benefit.

97 comments on “The US Government and Airlines Are Doing Their Best to Ensure Travel Won’t Recover Soon

  1. Mask mandates, checks for proof of vaccination, and temperature checks can be (and have been) enforced. “COVID-19 symptoms”, however, are largely unenforceable in my opinion (and largely ignored by many people at this point, if not most), with the exception of if/when they are extremely bad or self reported.

    People who have seasonal allergies and nose issues often have congestion, runny nose, and/or a cough, among other things, which meets the “strict” definition of the “COVID-19 symptoms” requirement. However, if a person knows what’s “normal” (without COVID, and pre-COVID) for them and what isn’t, should they really be forced to be a shut-in all the time (or clogging the medical system and getting tested very often)? I’d argue no, that those people should be able to live their lives and travel, provided they take responsibility to seek medical help (and comply with the restrictions) when their body feels worse than normal. Not every person’s “normal” (without COVID or other issues) is the same.

  2. Strongly agree that the testing requirement depresses international travel demand: I for one refuse to book any such tickets because cannot risk being stuck abroad for 2 weeks due to a false positive or an asymptomatic breakthrough case (I have been fully vaccinated since May).

    While I think my employer would be understanding and accommodating, I am not 100% certain on that. I do know that I’d have to haul my work laptop along for the trip, and spend forced quarantine time working inefficiently from its small single screen instead of my ergonomic multi-monitor setup. This I will not risk having to do.

  3. While I have been following you for a long time, the last year or so has truly enabled your wonky side. But, out of blue, comes this from you: “As for unvaccinated adults in the US, frankly, I don’t care what happens to them.” No doubt, from just the monetary side, you have some of those as customers. But more to the point, do you really mean what you said?

    1. I cant speak for Brett, but I think he means if you refuse to get the vaccine after all we have gone through the past year plus & are going through now, it’s on you. Personally I know two people whose households had Covid raging & now neither will get vaccinated. One believes you can avoid the virus if you eat a certain diet & the other believes that the government is making things up as they go along. This latter individual is one of those who overvalues her self-awareness by only believing what she experiences to be true.

    2. Every adult has had the chance to get a free vaccine. If you choose not to do it at your own peril.

    3. Yes, Alan. We all make our own choices and a choice to not get vaccinated is reckless, selfish, and will prolong this nightmare. Informational Darwinism at work.

    4. I have a brother, two brothers in-law, two sisters in-laws, and a father in-law that refuse to be vaccinated. I love them, but quite frankly this is the most idiotic and selfish thing I have seen humans do. Do I wish pain and suffering on any human? No. However society should tighten the screws on them. The fact that hospitals are overflowing now is totally ridiculous.

      If I was airlines I would require a vaccine for all passengers over 18, if you want an exemption its a medical review board that requires you to pre-pay $1000 to be reviewed. If you pass you get back the $1K, if you fail the doctors keep some and the airline keeps some to keep the program solvent. Then keep the pandemic relief flowing to the travel industry for another 18 months. People will come around but half measures are not working.

      1. Is your goal to further separate the haves and have nots? Many low income people can’t afford the $1k you espouse. In addition, they don’t have insurance or the financial flexibility that you speak of.

        Even the WHO recommends that vaccine status should not be a condition for travel. Many low income/developing countries don’t have the same access to the vaccine. I suspect that low income people in the US need to travel to see family, work, etc, they price shop on a ULCC and won’t have that magic $1k you speak of.

        These arbitrary rules create a further divide amongst those that have resources and those that don’t.

        1. The vaccine is free. Air travel is expensive and voluntary. Put it on a credit card if you are so sure of your medical exemption. Or if you are just scamming the system with a fake doctors note be prepared to lose $1K.

          The small circle of people who fly, have a valid medical reason to not get vaccinated, and cannot put together $1K to be held in escrow for ~30 days until a medical review is done is comically small. Life is tough and not fair.

          1. Oof…this reply is “interesting.” If you’re flying a ULCC it really isn’t that expensive as you believe. And the assumption that people have a credit card to put $1k on is almost comical. Life is tough but doesn’t have be unfair if your means are below Jim M’s. Flying for all levels of the population is important, not just the privileged. Assuming there is some “anti vax” plot on why they’re not getting vaccinated is why the conversation has come off the rails politically. A lot of people just don’t want it until it’s officially approved or more time has passed. or they’re skeptical of a government that hasn’t treated them well in the past.

            I get that people of a certain income/background level don’t matter to you, but that is not what this Country is about. We need to do a better job of designing rules that don’t favor the haves while hurting the have nots. Its easy to say “get a doctors note,” but how many people in this country don’t have a doctors? Too many.

            If the WHO doesn’t recommend vax status as a condition for travel, why are so many in the US in favor? Supposedly we are following the science and guidance of the CDC and WHO, so are they wrong on this fact?

            1. Save me from your soapbox. Flying is a privilege, always has been, always will be. My grandmother has never taken a flight in her life and led a happy life.

              I’m doing making excuses for the unvaccinated. Get the shot or get lost.

    5. Not to mention that by their selfish behavior to not get vaccinated, when they do get the delta variant or another variant and it’s so bad that it requires hospitalization, they are literally taking a hospital bed from someone who needs it.

      I agree with Cranky. If you are unvaccinated and you chose not to get it, you deserve what you have coming to you for your arrogance. If you want to repeat the “but my personal liberty” mantra BS, then live with the consequences of your decision – don’t expect a doctor or nurse to come to your rescue when you are an idiot. And because of that selfishness, I, too, don’t care what happens to them. One doesn’t get to decide they don’t trust doctors and scientists when it comes to a vaccine and then decide they do trust them to cure them when them get it. Because these are the people that are going to clog the system, cause our insurance premiums to go up and continue to drag this thing out.

      I find it fascinating that the same people that proclaim a business can discriminate (not saying that’s what you just did – just going on rant) and talk about personal liberty are the same ones who are horrified that an employer is requiring employees to get vaccinated. You don’t get to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple and then proclaim some moral superiority when an airline won’t let you fly.

      Our school board meetings literally border on the farcical right now. “The school can’t tell me to get my child vaccinated.” Actually, they can. And they’ve been doing it for years. Measles? Polio? Yeah, you can’t go to school without those vaccinations.

      1. 99% agree, my only 1% concern is the importance of Insurance costs. The best possible reason an airline should demand it’s employees be vaccinated IS health insuranc costs. It’s not about premiums for the airlines, all are self-insured. All those anti-vaxers are creating expensive weeks long stays in the ICU and on extended stays on ventilators. The other alternative is to just say, get vaccinated and we cover your hospital stays, dont get vaccinated, the cost is on-you too!

        1. VaxMandatory,

          I agree in theory about not covering the care of those who haven’t gotten vaccinated… However medical professionals have ethical issues in refusing care, so that just ends up being care that is provided, and likely uncompensated, which means ultimately it’s paid for by all, including the company.

    6. Alan – I do mean what I said in that if someone doesn’t want to get the vaccine, then I have no sympathy for them when they get severely ill. (I will note that I mean this for the US specifically. There are plenty of other countries that do not have the same level of vaccine availability, and I feel awful for those who can’t get it but want it.) We should not be creating policy to cater to those people who refuse to take care of themselves. That to me should fall on their shoulders, not everyone else’s.

      1. Ok. I understand. The way it was written was off putting. My retirement home of Malta has full vaccine rate now of 84%. Anti vaxxers are a minor blip. Otoh government corruption is through the roof.

        We solved the anti vaxxers early on. No shoes, no shirt, no vaccine, no service. Can’t fly out or in without jab. Can’t go to restaurant, bars, entertainment without jab. No indoor shopping without mask.

        Nothing’s perfect, but we sleep better at nite.

        Oh, as an aside, no decrease in on board service on LH. We have been going to Helsinki 3 times a year. Still booze and hot meals in biz class.

      2. Would just like to point out that some unvacinated people CAN’T get the vaccine due to allergies to the base components or the nutrients used to grow the vaccine cultures. Not getting vaccinated doesn’t alway mean anti vaxer. I will admit that the percent is small but it does exist.

    7. I totally get what he is saying. If the unvaccinated don’t care what happens to them why should we care? I’d rather waste my time worrying about the children who can’t get vaccinated yet. I have decided not to get into any more arguments with my sister about the vaccine. She believes the government is trying to change her DNA by pushing the vax so it can regulate her life. Yeah, sometimes you need to throw your hands up in the air and say Okay suit yourself.

  4. I think we should quit kneeling down to the Anti-Vaxer community. If you want to fly, get vaccinated. I am tired of all the idiots that will not get vaccinated

    Everyone that is vaccinated has to suffer because of the non vaccinated

    1. Everyone that is vaccinated has to suffer because of the non vaccinated. Exactly & I would go further & say many of the unvaccinated know this & will exploit that fact as much as possible. Like you said, time to stop pandering.

    2. I agree totally. And to add more to it taking an experimental vaccine like us who have got vaccinated poses its own risk. So we are supposed to take this risk hoping that enough of us get vaccinated to where the anti-VAXers have heard immunity? I don’t think so

    3. I agree with you Paul . Walking on eggshells around anti vaxxers for the last year and a half has done nothing to stop the trajectory of covid- get vaccinated or don’t fly.

  5. I hope you and your family are all doing ok after your breakthrough infection. If you are comfortable doing so, I think it would be very beneficial to your readers to share the details of your experience getting infected even though vaccinated. How was the course of your illness? How long did it take you to recover? Is there anything you would have done differently to protect yourself? Thanks for considering this topic.

    1. Ted – Sure thing. My wife and I both showed symptoms on the same day, so frankly we don’t know where we got it. My wife does work for a company based in New York, and she went out there for a week. They require vaccinations, and they weren’t masking at that time, so if I had to guess, it probably came from there. The only thing she would have done differently is make sure she and others were masking, I think. But I can’t think of anything I would have done differently myself.

      We both presented symptoms slightly differently. I started with muscle aches/joint pain and congestion. She had congestion, sore throat, and fatigue. My worst day was day three when my cough started and I had a lot more fatigue to the point where I didn’t work much that day, just rested in bed. Neither of us had a fever. By day 6, I was feeling normal from an energy perspective. I just had some lingering congestion and an occasional cough. Now I’m past two weeks and I still have an occasional cough (usually only when I wake up in the morning, but I’m mostly fine the rest of the day). My wife is fine now as well, and she never got the cough.

      Our biggest concern was the kids. They’re young, so we couldn’t totally isolate from them. We tried to wear masks and stay in the other room when we could, but that just wasn’t an option all the time. And besides, that only happened once we started showing symptoms. Our son tested positive a couple days after us and our daughter took a few more days. They are both too young for the vaccine, but fortunately they had very mild cases. Both had occasional low-grade fevers, and each had their first night of symptoms accompanied by the chills. But that was pretty much it for them, fortunately.

  6. The “can’t be awaiting COVID-19 test results” bit from United seems particularly crazy. Like many others, I’m required to be tested weekly for work. So in theory, if I’m tested the day before I fly somewhere but haven’t received my negative results yet, I technically can’t fly.

    Sure there’s no way they’re going to know that. Have a test result pending, but why make me lie? I’m surely not going to delay or cancel travel because I’m awaiting results from a routine, asymptomatic, and almost certainly negative test.

  7. I also have stopped caring about those who won’t get the vaccine. Would you feel sorry for someone who drove drunk and crashed into a tree? These people are willfully risking getting the disease and dying from it. Their own choices, on their own heads. And it’s damn well time to stop worrying about them.

    The biggest issue we face is that the FDA needs to get off their asses and get the vaccines approved formally, and for all ages. That’s been the biggest basis for resisting the vaccine. GET THAT DONE NOW. Then get rid of all mandates, distancing, and whatever. Here’s the thing – detractors have claimed that COVID is the flu. Well…if you are vaccinated, yes it is exactly that. The flu. You can get it, you can get sick, but the vast majority of people don’t wind up in the hospital or the morgue from it. We don’t require masks on planes or in schools during flu season. Once we have a fully approved vaccine for all ages, then we move forward.

    WRT quarantines and waiting period, I am betting most people ignore them.

    1. I don’t agree with getting rid of masks and social distancing – deaths from the seasonal flu were down ~99% last year compared to a typical flu season. Some of that was from people staying at home, not visiting people in nursing homes, etc., but it was still a good result and could reduce cases further among the vaccinated – after all, the flu isn’t exactly fun and for those of use working on contract jobs

      Get the final approval on the vaccines completed, to remove the last excuse people have to not get vaccinated that even sounds pseudo-scientific, and then you either get vaccinated or face the consequences. No state rules against employers requiring vaccinations, no strong-arming local governments into letting the disease run free (yes, Ron DeSantis, I’m looking at your stupid a$$), etc. No more mollycoddling the foolish.

      1. Craig, would you have masks and distancing permanently? Come on.

        I would assert that the more you try to protect the population from pathogens, the worse their effects will be when someone gets ill. Getting sick, whether it is the flu or a cold or some random virus, is part of natural protection against bugs. The idea that we have to separate and mask up forever is just as ridiculous as these people who think the government is trying to put a chip into them with the vaccine.

        Your last part I mostly agree with. Get final approval, and then if someone wants to avoid the vaccine, and they suffer or die, it’s on them.

        1. I’m not suggesting permanent masking/distancing, but keeping COVID transmission at a minimum is vital to preventing new variants from emerging, given the changes in infectiousness we’ve already seen, this virus mutates fairly quickly and it’s not that much of a stretch to imaging the next variant could not just be more infectious but more deadly and/or resistant to the current vaccines. And even mild cases of COVID carry the risk of “long COVID”, a major difference between COVID and the run-of-the-mill seasonal flu.

          Add all this to the fact that hospitals in much of the country are at or near capacity again, and I think we need to keep some practices (distancing and masking) in place until we get the spread back under control.

          1. The argument that we have to protect against variants is actually silly when you use logic. We could triple vaccinate every man, woman, and child in this country, have a full shutdown, and require everyone to wear double N95 masks at all times and it would not stop variants from forming. You think the virus stops at international borders? No.

            Variants will be stopped only when the entire planet is fully vaccinated and the disease is gone. In other words, probably never.

            I don’t advocate mask mandates or distancing, period. If we have to make choices at hospitals, those who are unvaccinated may have to wait. If you choose not to get vaccinated, and you get sick and need a vent when one is not available, that is YOUR choice, and we need to stop protecting these people at the cost of the rest of society. Couple of stories of unvaccinated COVID sufferers being turned away from hospitals may well get the rest of them off their asses and to the clinic for a jab.

            Harsh? Yes. But maybe it’s what we need instead of catering to idiots.

        1. Because it doesn’t comport with remaining in office. If it did, those governors who currently scream “personal freedom” in not getting the vaccine would be doing what ever it takes to get their states populations vaccinated. I’m looking at you SD, TX & FL.

  8. I agree with about 98% of this post… But I honestly like the idea of not allowing passengers with symptomatic Covid to fly, like Southwest requires, despite being in excess of CDC guidelines. I realize that this may be more conservative than the evidence supports… but airlines have to sell a product that people want to buy. And I wouldn’t be happy sitting next to a patient coughing from Covid, whatever the evidence suggests about infectiousness.

    1. This is a key point that Cranky ignores. Most of our COVID prevention efforts are mutual sacrifice for mutual gain: I wear a mask to protect you and visa-versa, I get vaccinated to lessen the likelihood that I infect you and visa-versa, I give up indoor gatherings to protect you and visa-versa.

      So sitting with our faces 18 inches from each other, even with N95 masks and well-circulated air? I take a test, you take a test, and if one of us tests positive, that person stays off the plane until it’s safe for them to get aboard.

    2. grichard – But here’s the thing, this isn’t even just about symptomatic COVID. You could have a cough or congestion for any number of reasons, including chronic ones. It sounds like the Delta variant is presenting more similarly to a cold or allergies. So are you just going to ban anyone from flying if they have a cough or congestion? I still think masking is the way to do it.

      1. At the moment, anybody with symptoms consistent with covid should be tested. The southwest case that I’m referring to is *test-confirmed* covid with >10 days of persistent symptoms.

        No, somebody with symptoms of a respiratory infection and a negative test shouldn’t be prevented from flying, but that’s not the question.

      2. Thank you, Brett, exactly.

        I alluded to this a bit less personally in an early comment on this point, but I’ll elaborate… I’m a person who has enough nasal & allergy issues that ENTs salivate when they see me and start to think about the how much money they’ll make (and yes, I’ve been to a few ENTs, in different states). Nothing serious enough to really impact my quality of life, but between a deviated septum and allergies to dust/grass pollen/tree pollen/ragweed/etc, I tend to have some phlegm and an occasional bad coughing fit, even with meds, and my sense of smell is poor at times. To me, this is my normal and has been for decades, despite these technically being “COVID-19 symptoms”.

        I’ve taken multiple commercial US domestic flights since COVID-19 hit, before before and after I was vaxxed (which I did at the earliest opportunity).

        Whenever I see the “COVID-19” symptoms questions, I always mentally add, “compared to your personal normal” to them when answering, as while my occasional coughing fit may sound bad to others, I can usually tell when a cold or flu (something beyond my “normal”) is coming on. To truly require or enforce a ban or testing requirement based on a very strict definition of COVID-19 symptoms is, in my opinion, absurd and infeasible, as there are many people like myself who would never be able to go anywhere. Ask the questions, sure, and take temps and require masks on planes or even proof of vaccination if you’d like, but you can’t realistic enforce the exclusion of anyone and everyone who has had any of the “COVID-19” symptoms in recent days, or there would be very few people eligible to fly (let alone work the planes) in the winter or spring months, when colds and allergies tend to be at their worst.

        1. Kilroy–

          I hear ya. At this point, I’m pretty sure I’ve sent a couple of ENT’s kids through college…

          1. Thanks, Kevin.

            I finally got smart and tried wearing a P100 dust mask when I mowed the lawn last week, along with the usual safety glasses, ear plugs, and long pants… I may have looked a bit odd to the neighbors, but it was the first time that I’ve been able to mow the lawn without ANY allergy/ENT irritation, night and day difference and an easy change, so I’m now dedicating that reusable dust mask to yard work only.

            I like the elipse dust masks marketed to woodworkers, which are made in the UK, very comfortable, run $25, and have reusable filters, but there’s plenty of good personal protective equipment (PPE) out there, just a matter of trying some until you find PPE that is so comfortable you forget you’re wearing it.

            I’m also running air filters in the main rooms of my home (again, comparatively inexpensive ones targeted at clearing the dust in the air of woodworking shops, though a furnace filter taped to a box fan works well as a dirt-cheap option) and for kicks and giggles I bought a particulate meter to measure the air quality in my home (and in my garage I’m doing woodworking, to test the effectiveness of the dust collection).

            I may clean far too infrequently, but even I can press a button to power up a dust filter in my living room. I’m really not being too anal/overboard about things; it’s just that it’s awfully tough to replace your lungs, ears, and eyes if you damage them, and when you see a direct impact in comfort from easy (and relatively cheap) changes like wearing PPE and running air filters, it’s an easy choice to make.

  9. Also depressing international travel is the unpredictability about which countries will allow travelers to enter and under which conditions. That information can change abruptly and frequently, which makes it difficult to plan travel. And yes, completed vaccination should be a requirement for flying. There’s just a minuscule portion of the population who are unable to get vaccines due to medical conditions, and they can be exempt from a vaccine requirement. No other exemptions.

    1. There’s also a not-so-minuscule portion of the population who are unable to get vaccines due to age. They need to travel too. And if they can’t travel, then often their parents can’t travel either.

      1. You’re correct. I was considering adults and overlooked children younger than age 12. I read that vaccine authorization for children likely will start in the next 1-2 months, and I hope that the report I read proves true.

    1. I can’t even fathom how much worse off the country would be is Trump was still in office with his head still buried in the sand, pretending Covid doesn’t exist and doing nothing to roll out vaccines, silencing the CDC, and promoting anti-mask/anti-vaxx conspiracies.

      1. Trump is the one who initiated Operation Warp Speed. And his “head was in the sand” so far that vaccines were ready within 9 months of inception. Pfizer’s was announced 3 days after the election. It is thanks to Trump’s team that we have vaccines at all.

        As for Biden/Harris: first they said they wouldn’t trust any vaccine approved by Trump. Then they took it and said “get vaccinated and be free of masks because they’re 100% effective!” Now they say “yeah, vaccinated people must do the same things as the unvaccinated but get one anyway.” Talk about clown show marketing! No wonder so many aren’t getting vaxxed.

        One more thing: the elitist lefties here assume that it’s “dumb MAGA people” who aren’t getting vaxxed. While some Trump supporting people do have those feelings, the largest demographic to refuse vaccines is the African-American population. While the media has nothing to say about that, the above paragraph describes how Biden makes it worse. And those dumb southern states full of the unvaccinated? Heavy percentage of black population (who don’t trust the vaccine) contribute heavily to that. Do you guys still not care about the unvaccinated? I just wonder.

        1. I don’t care about the unvaccinated regardless of race or political preference. The vaccine is free and widely available. Anyone who chooses to ignore science and research and subscribes to conspiracies, pseudo-science and echo chamber media which repeats back one’s own beliefs about vaccines absolutely deserves the consequences of their ignorance and deserves no sympathy.

      2. This comment is simply not true. The vaccine roll out during the prior administration was nothing short of a miracle from a healthcare standpoint. The CDC is NOT the picture of perfection you make it out to be. During the early part of the pandemic, we went completely against CDC guidelines for testing in nursing homes (they said only test symptomatics) because that CDC policy was a complete disaster and caused an untold number of deaths. It’s comments like yours that spur on the anti-vax crowd, quite frankly.

        The airlines, like healthcare facilities, will be some of the last to go maskless when this crisis abates. It will abate. Common sense says that the current surge of increased infection rates is simply not sustainable. If you take 100,000 people and start at 1000 infections a day..and that starts to increase to 2000 / day, etc, that rate is not sustainable much past 50,000 – 60,000 total infected as there are just not that many potential hosts left.

        Stop the political flame throwing please. I’m a MAGA Long Term Care physician and have probably treated more Covid patients in the last 16 months than people you know. I am also pro-vaccine and pro-SENSIBLE mask wearing.

    2. No, this the result of an inept Trump who ignored the pandemic for political and personal gain. But, of course, he got Covid 19 and then got the vaccine before just about everyone else. Don’t forget, William, to send your $10 “re-election” check to help pay for his consigliere.

    3. I really suggest you spend some time actually researching why gasoline is so expensive before such a comment. According to AAA, “Robust gasoline demand and more expensive crude oil prices are pushing gas prices higher,” said spokesperson Jeanette McGee in AAA’s announcement.
      “We had hoped that global crude production increases would bring some relief at the pump this month, but weekend OPEC negotiations fell through with no agreement reached. As a result, crude prices are set to surge to a seven-year high.” And yes, the US is approaching oil independence for production but when prices are high, private businesses can decide to export the oil. Supply and demand. Blame “Uncle Joe” all you want but he has as much to do with gas prices as Trump did.

    4. William – I warn you not to try and drag irrelevant points into this debate or I will start deleting. All of these plans were put into place under a previous administration so there is plenty of blame to go around. But talking about gas prices is just going to fan the flames of an unrelated conversation. Keep it topical or it will be deleted.

  10. “As for unvaccinated adults in the US, frankly, I don’t care what happens to them. They’ve done this to themselves, and the consequences are their problem.”

    My sentiment exactly.

  11. This article was bound to turn into a referendum on covid management. As much as the current administration repeatedly dissed the previous one’s handling, the US is far more divided than it was – and we are nowhere near out of the woods – and politicians incessantly think they can do better than the other guy – until it is their turn to show that they can.

    Vaccines were never intended to prevent infection. They are doing what they are intended to do. Even the chance of reinfection of the vaccinated is very low. Despite the hysteria, the vast majority of Americans have managed to NOT get infected by covid in 18 months of the pandemic. The US has recorded 40 million cases out of a population of about 330 million or so people and those case results include multiple positives for the same person. And 635,000 deaths for a fraction of one percent of the US population. Serious, yes.

    Handling of the pandemic has been “everyone for themselves” esp. since there has been very limited true scientific data that is providing true validation of policies. We need only look at United’s decision to require vaccines for their current employees – in what appears to be the only airline that will do the same. Even Big Tech companies that will require vaccinations also allow work from home for many positions. Try asking for most UAL jobs with the WFH option.

    I don’t get why some people won’t get vaccinated but I also don’t get why anyone in the western world smokes or drives after drinking. Sure those aren’t contagious – but there are plenty of other human behaviors that involve transmittable diseases. The flu shot has never been mandatory but the flu kills.

    And people who are at risk for anything have always understood that they have to take steps to protect themselves rather than expecting everyone else to change their lives to eliminate a risk which is very unlikely to affect them.

    So, yeah, let’s get this over with, quit blaming others for their decisions unless we are willing to do the same for other activities across the board, and use the best medicine as we understand it – and then allow others to do the same – no different than what we have been told to do about religion, sexuality and sex practices, and how we use our time.

    and then those who can travel should do it. I have taken two international trips this year. Prudent planning and risk management works just like it does for everything else in life. There have always been people who can’t travel and nobody should when they are contagious with any disease. We just are more aware of one particular disease than we ever had in the history of humanity.

    1. “This article was bound to turn into a referendum on covid management. As much as the current administration repeatedly dissed the previous one’s handling, the US is far more divided than it was – and we are nowhere near out of the woods – and politicians incessantly think they can do better than the other guy – until it is their turn to show that they can.”

      Seriously Tim – you’re actually going to go there? I read the entire diatribe & there are several strawman arguments you make I shouldn’t even comment on, but I will anyway.

      1. Despite the hysteria, the vast majority of Americans have managed to NOT get infected by covid in 18 months of the pandemic. The US has recorded 40 million cases out of a population of about 330 million or so people and those case results include multiple positives for the same person. And 635,000 deaths for a fraction of one percent of the US population. Serious, yes.

      Those are cases with symptoms as there were numerous cases without showing signs of illness & those numbers we don’t know.

      2. Handling of the pandemic has been “everyone for themselves” esp. since there has been very limited true scientific data that is providing true validation of policies. We need only look at United’s decision to require vaccines for their current employees – in what appears to be the only airline that will do the same. Even Big Tech companies that will require vaccinations also allow work from home for many positions. Try asking for most UAL jobs with the WFH option.

      How do you know there is little scientific data on this pandemic that is driving policy decisions? Also what does “work from home” have anything to do with getting vaccines into arms?

      3. I don’t get why some people won’t get vaccinated but I also don’t get why anyone in the western world smokes or drives after drinking. Sure those aren’t contagious – but there are plenty of other human behaviors that involve transmittable diseases. The flu shot has never been mandatory but the flu kills.

      3. If you smoke or drive drunk you not only effect yourself, but very well may effect the lives of others. Also in some workplaces such as healthcare facilities, group homes & the like the flu shot maybe required every year

      4. So, yeah, let’s get this over with, quit blaming others for their decisions unless we are willing to do the same for other activities across the board, and use the best medicine as we understand it – and then allow others to do the same – no different than what we have been told to do about religion, sexuality and sex practices, and how we use our time.

      What does this have to do with anything, Tim?

      I await your response with bated breath.

  12. No, this the result of an inept Trump who ignored the pandemic for political and personal gain. But, of course, he got Covid 19 and then got the vaccine before just about everyone else. Don’t forget, William, to send your $10 “re-election” check to help pay for his consigliere.

  13. I have a questions? 1. Do you think it’s wise for Airlines to have mandatory vaccination requirements for their employees?
    2. once Children under the Age of 12 are eligible for Vaccinations should the World wide industry just adopt a mandatory Vaccination passport requirement for
    travel period?

    1. jason thompson – 1) I don’t have a problem with it, and as private enterprise I think it’s entirely up to them to make that decision. It may win them some customers, and it may lose others. But I fully support their right to make that decision.
      2) I think each country can make that decision. There are already rules requiring vaccines to go to some destinations, and that hasn’t been a point of contention that I know of. I had to get a yellow fever vaccine when I went to Africa, for example. If a country decides that it needs to limit travelers to those who are vaccinated, then that’s fine by me as well. But it definitely has to be available for all ages (unless there is an exemption) and the vaccine would have to be given full authorization by that country’s governing body.

      1. Never mind losing (or gaining) customers: a vaccination requirement will reduce employee sick time, which will help their operation.

  14. Seems like a lot of “rules for rules sake”, which I personally detest. You don’t have to be an “anti-government” person to see the woeful inadequacies and complete lack of expertise and know-how from all the supposed “experts.”

    I’m with you Brett, why are we still using 2020 rules for 2021?

  15. Great article!

    And I believe too that the airlines are at fault here. I feel like they should be pressuring governments more on stopping the testing and documentation requirements.

    1) There’s a cure – the vax (like you said, it’s not 2020 anymore). I understand children aren’t eligible for it yet, but their risk is so small that I feel like parents, not governments, can make the choice on travel for their children. Plus, those most at risk for serious disease (not just testing positive) have had the option to vax or not (at least in the US/EU).

    2) From what I understand, COVID is everywhere at this point. So, if you do happen to be infected, it’s not like you’re taking any new disease to another country (or bringing it back). I guess I could understand if a country doesn’t have a lot of vaccine availability, but for a place like the US or Europe, they can’t seem to give them away. So, why do we still need a test to return?

    I did recently travel overseas this Summer to a third-world country. I was able to enter w/o a test w/ my vax card. However, I still had to be tested upon return. I did this because I needed to visit family abroad, but I won’t be traveling overseas again (at least to places where I don’t have family) until the testing is dropped. There’s just too much of a risk for me (esp now that ppl that are vax’ed can test positive).

  16. A lot of this is the result of the CDC and US government putting out confusing guidance after prematurely declaring victory over the virus. They said “you can all take off your masks” when we are (and were even further back in late spring when they said this) nowhere near herd immunity and then they dragged their feet in saying “maybe you should put the mask back on if you want”. It’s frustrating how all the relaxing restrictions is so sweeping, but when it comes time to combat the virus, it’s a confusing, muddled mess. As Cranky said, the travel bans are ridiculous, especially since they do not at all seem to correspond to country risk. I feel comfortable to fly as a vaccinated, low-risk individual and took my first domestic flight again in June, but I’m not going international because of the confusing requirements, not because I would feel unsafe doing so.

    It’s also really disappointing to see that DL, AA, WN etc are not following United’s suit in mandating employee vaccinations. In addition to hampering the recovery, a crewmember with no (extremely rare) medical mitigating factors who will not take the vaccine at this point is a threat to the safety of passengers and is not likely to enforce other health protocols sufficiently, which should be grounds for termination IMO. People have a basic right to not get vaccinated, but they cannot and should not be guaranteed freedom from the consequences of such a decision, especially with the externalities such a decision creates towards others who have made responsible choices.

    1. Here is the problem airlines (and others) face when mandating vaccines.

      There is already a massive staffing shortage in this country. The airlines are having a lot of trouble finding enough staff, as evidenced by some of the cancellation spirals we’ve seen. If you then mandate vaccines, some of your staff is going to quit rather than take them. I know this, because one of my engineers did exactly that when I said I was going to make it mandatory. Plus we were trying to hire an admin person for in the office…told her she needed to either be vaccinated or wear a mask…and she declined a fairly competitive salary. A lot of folks are completely irrational about this whole thing, as evidenced by one post on this thread too.

      I’m sure they would like mandate it, but by doing so they would risk even greater staffing issues than they do now.

      1. That’s (unfortunately) a good point about staff shortages that I didn’t consider, airlines can’t afford to make even more people leave. I’m still a bit curious where this is landing with the unions which seem to be a bit cautious about their messaging on this.

      2. The problem with vaccine mandates is not everyone is doing it. As long as the pandering continues, the excuses continue. . .

      3. @John G– I’d submit that the number of employees that will quit in the face of a vax mandate is statistically tiny. These are usually the same breakroom gasbags that swear they’ll quit if certain policies change, the workforce goes union, etc.

        They talk a lot, but they never leave.

        1. At this point in time, even a few employees quitting, or making it more difficult to hire, is hard. Granted, airlines rely a lot upon seniority, making it less likely that mass resignations would take place, but some would. And in subcontracted services it would be worse. How many cancellations are your customers will to accept to ensure that the entire workforce is vaccinated?

          Before you answer, a lot of their customers care a lot, and would choose to fly an airline that was fully vaccinated. But…in this day and age of deep political divisions, a lot of customers would boycott an airline BECAUSE it mandated vaccines. You’re an airline exec…good luck managing all that.

  17. Has any commenter in this thread actually seen recent data and studies on the vaccine and/or masks? Set aside pro- or anti-vaccine, or pro- or anti-mask, but for the love, look at some data please. For vaccines touted at 90-95% efficacy in preventing infection, the latest data out of Israel has Pfizer vaccine efficacy at 39% – yes, 39% – and as a nation, their hospitalizations are almost 50/50 vaxxed vs unvaxxed, with total hospitalizations nearing the January peak. Brett just wrote a post on breakthrough infections – and everyone’s response is – more vaccine! Pfizer and Moderna just completed their full phase 3 trials – and in neither, did overall mortality change. Pfizer had the same number of total deaths in the trial arm as the placebo arm. And enough with the mask craziness – they don’t work, folks. Never have for respiratory viruses – something the medical literature proved BEFORE this pandemic, and continues to prove DURING this pandemic. Here’s the motherlode of research for those of you interested enough: https://www.city-journal.org/do-masks-work-a-review-of-the-evidence. We ALL want this pandemic to be over, but there is no silver bullet. Lockdowns had no impact on case/hospitalization/death trajectory; masks didn’t either; vaccines – jury is still out overall. But sure, keep shaming those who look at the data, shrug their shoulders, and realize that perhaps just trying to live your life with good personal precautions is likely the only way through.

    1. nc_road_warrior – The 39% data out of Israel is for infection. It is still 88% effective against hospitalization and 91% effective against severe illness. Just getting the infection is not a benchmark that should matter any longer. The vaccine is still very effective at preventing severe disease.
      https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/23/delta-variant-pfizer-covid-vaccine-39percent-effective-in-israel-prevents-severe-illness.html

      As for phase 3 trials, I’m not sure what you’re talking about, but if you have a link, please provide it. Pfizer’s phase 3 was done last November.
      https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/pfizer-and-biontech-conclude-phase-3-study-covid-19-vaccine Moderna was done in December: https://investors.modernatx.com/news-releases/news-release-details/moderna-announces-publication-results-pivotal-phase-3-trial

      Show your source on the death rate being the same for the vaccinated vs unvaccinated. This says otherwise, though it’s pretty early for there to be great data for Delta.
      https://www.capradio.org/articles/2021/05/10/no-the-death-rate-for-vaccinated-people-is-not-higher-than-that-of-unvaccinated-people/

      Lastly, you have linked to a conservative think-tank’s article purporting to show that masks don’t work. I can point you to plenty of others that say they do. In fact, here’s a list of 49 for you: https://www.kxan.com/news/coronavirus/do-face-masks-work-here-are-49-scientific-studies-that-explain-why-they-do/

      1. I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds, but there is precisely ONE Of those “peer reviewed” studies supporting the effectiveness of masks that is directly tied to a confirmed case of covid being in proximity to others – and they were on an airplane. We have seen studies that have validated that air filtration systems on jet aircraft eliminate covid vaccine. There is a study re: mask wearing by family members of confirmed covid cases vs. those that did not, but no isolation of other factors.
        The vast majority of the studies that are cited in that article do not eliminate causation – they make statements that “locale X imposed a mask mandate and cases fell compared to locale Y” without complete isolation of every other factor.
        It is virtually impossible to isolate all factors from an active disease and most of us understand that. but we also question blindly connecting models and simulations to reality.

        Of course common sense says that masks reduce droplet transmission. The question is whether common cloth or non-surgical paper masks worn by the everyday public (often incorrectly) in percentages that are realistic – not ideal – make a difference. not a single study has validated that. They all talk about ideals, not realism.

        I don’t know very many people that like wearing masks but we do what we have to do in the name of getting things back on track. I simply don’t spend that much time in common spaces where masks are required to fight it.

        There should be a much more information supporting public policy decisions on something as significant to the world as covid. Peer reviewed studies of some common inexpensive treatments that are being used in the developing world have been suppressed in the US in favor of much more expensive drugs.

        I am playing by the rules and accepted suggestions of what I know makes sense – but there are plenty of people that are not being given data and take a much higher threshold of belief. I don’t condemn them for asking questions but I also don’t realistically tie my future to the decisions anyone else makes.

        Travel policy has to do the same. We don’t require conformity with other personal health issues and we will never achieve conformity with covid practices. To try to achieve it will only lead to frustration among those that pursue it.

    2. The Israeli study reported 39% efficacy against infection with the Delta variant, efficacy in the same study against severe illness was still over 90%. Even the 39% is misleading as it is skewed by lower case numbers in Israel as a whole, which was likely helped by the vaccines. As the number of overall cases (vaxxed and un-vaxxed) goes down faster than the vaccination rate increases, this makes vaccine efficacy numbers look artificially worse, leading the press to fear-monger. Epidemiologists and other experts predicted this and cautioned it would happen as more people got vaccinated. So many of these issues in policy are being driven by the fact that people are not being taught how to interpret nuance in data, or cherry-picking studies to justify not wearing a thin piece of cloth on their face or getting a shot.

  18. > If the tests are wrong often, and the most likely outcome is a mild case for the vaccinated,
    > why are we forcing travelers to stay abroad if they get sick?

    Cranky, can you explain how this would work in practice? So you have someone test positive in France and is in fact sick, and you want them to sit for 11 hrs in a coach seat next to your unvaccinated kids on their flight to LAX?

    Yes, masks are required, but people have been getting really good at savoring their drinks and food to maximize the mask-off time. And I am not sure that there are any studies demonstrating that X hrs of exposure on a plane is safe in the age of Delta with 1000x higher viral loads.

    Yes, the antigen tests aren’t very accurate, but the general recommendation is to follow up a positive test with a more reliable PCR test to verify the result.

    1. Oliver – First off, I wouldn’t require a test to come back to the US, so people may be infected by asymptomatic and they wouldn’t know it. Second, if someone has symptoms, I would treat it like someone with the flu or a bad cold. I would make them wear a mask and just deal with it. If there’s an empty seat, great, try and move them to it. But yeah, we need to start treating this as a more manageable disease.

      1. Totally agree w/ you Cranky! COVID is never going away and we’re just going to have to learn how to deal with it. Remember during flu season when we had the signs to “Cover your mouth” or “If you have a cough, put on a mask”? Maybe that’s what we need to get back to.

        I think if airlines don’t start advocating for normal right now (and I mean 2019 normal), then they will never get back to the level they were in 2019 (or at least, it will be severely delayed).

    1. Not relevant and I do hope you value a lot of other things from our presidency that the price of a gallon of gasoline. NO president has control over the price of gas. Congress can influence it through taxation but that’s about it. If you want to blame someone, blame Colonial Pipeline for their inability to properly secure their network, were then hacked and saw the price of gasoline increase due to shortages. Or perhaps OPEC. The US controls 4% (just 4%) of the worldwide production of oil. We have next to no influence on the price of gasoline because it’s a commodity whose price is variable based on supply and demand. Remember last year when travel ground to a halt and suppliers were literally PAYING companies to take oil for free. Oil was actually negative in price. Do you think Trump deserves the blame for destroying 100K (yes, you read that right – 100K oil and gas jobs were lost during the pandemic)? He didn’t have anything to do with that either. The democrats tried to blame Bush for the same thing back in the day and it didn’t matter then, either.

  19. It is interesting that many of the comments here paint the people that don’t want to get vaccinated as stupid, selfish people that should not be allowed to fly, go to restaurants etc.

    I believe that one reason many people are reluctant to get the vaccine is that NO one knows what the long term impact of this vaccine is. How could they with a drug that is still listed as experimental.

    All you have to look at is the fairly recent past with the drug Thalidomide. For those you that might not know:

    “Thalidomide was a widely used drug in the late 1950s and early 1960s for the treatment of nausea in pregnant women. It became apparent in the 1960s that thalidomide treatment resulted in severe birth defects in thousands of children.”

    A drug with a noble cause but a terrible long term affect.

    What would you say if the Covid vaccine actually has a long term affect that ends up crippling or killing more people than have been killed to date by Covid?

    The anti-vaxxers would then be seen as the smart ones instead of the lemmings who ran to get the shot.

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

    I think that everyone should talk to their physician, be allowed to assess their risk and make their own decisions and the CDC and airlines should provide guidance but NOT mandates!

    In case you are wondering, I am vaccinated.

    But I worry every day if I made the right decision because of the possible long term consequences to my health.

    1. It is interesting that many of the comments here paint the people that don’t want to get vaccinated as stupid, selfish people that should not be allowed to fly, go to restaurants etc.

      They are stupid & selfish, but no one is telling them they are excluded from society. That’s just a ridiculous RW talking point.

      I believe that one reason many people are reluctant to get the vaccine is that NO one knows what the long term impact of this vaccine is. How could they with a drug that is still listed as experimental.

      The fact is the CDC has been studying Coronaviruses for several years & that is how the current vaccine was developed as quickly as it has. In fact there’s a new vaccine in development I read about several months ago & was featured on 60-Minutes that will cover all Coronas including the common cold.

      1. Sean

        It took almost 20 years before the connection between birth defects and Thalidomide was proven.

        It took multiple decades and some whistle blowers to prove that tobacco causes lung cancer even though MANY in the medical/scientific community stated there was no causation.

        I don’t understand how you calling someone “stupid and selfish”, just because they don’t hold your belief, helps persuade anyone.

        Concern for long term consequences of a still experimental drug (or any drug for that matter) is very legitimate and valid.

        I would like you to point me to one long term study (greater than 5 years) on the affects of the Covid vaccines.

        You must not have read all the comments that are calling for a ban in flying if you are un-vaccinated.

        1. incongruent strawman arguments you are making here.

          You must not have read all the comments that are calling for a ban in flying if you are un-vaccinated.

          And what’s so bad about that excluding those who aren’t able to be vaccinated do to medical reasons? No vaccine, no flying. Take your own vehicle. Your car, your life.

          1. Sean

            I provided context by providing a real world example (Thalidomide) of where the medical/scientific establishment did not consider the long term consequences of drug that seemed like a good idea at the time.

            It ended up causing major issues (birth defects) much worse than what it was originally trying to cure (nausea).

            I noticed that you bypassed my only request of you. Let me ask again:

            “I would like you to point me to one long term study (greater than 5 years) on the effects of the Covid vaccines”

            If you cannot point me to any long term, peer reviewed studies, then you cannot say that there are NOT any long term negative consequences.

            And if you cannot say that there are not any long term consequences, then people that do not want to get vaccinated at this time have a very valid and sustainable position even if you do not agree with it.

            This is not a “strawman argument”.

            This is using a logical thought process based on prior examples.

  20. My favorite is to return to the USA from Mexico via air, you need to present within 3 days of departure, a negative Covid test or a letter from a health professional that you have successfully recovered from Covid. But if you are fully vaccinated, you still need to test negative? I guess those whom had Covid will never possibly get it again? And then if you do test positive, simply fly to Tijuana Airport, take the land bridge over the border and catch a flight out of San Diego.

    Go get your jab already! I am sick of those who say it isn’t fully approved by the FDA and don’t want to experiment with their mRNA. Funny these same people have no problem eating Ball Park Hot Dogs which are approved by the USDA? Not quite sure what some of the ingredients are here and what long term potential health effects there are?

    INGREDIENTS
    Beef, Water, Corn Syrup, Contains 2% Or Less: Salt, Potassium Lactate, Hydrolyzed Beef Stock, Natural Flavor (Including Celery Juice Powder), Sodium Phosphate, Sea Salt, Sodium Diacetate, Extractives Of Paprika.

  21. Yeah, the inbound intl travel bans in the middle of a community spread spike here are dumb. Particularly since they’re asymmetric…someone from the Netherlands can’t come here right now but someone from here can go right over there, potentially taking an asymptomatic Delta case with them.

    I wouldn’t be averse to a masked + vaxed rule for flying, even domestically, for folks eligible, as a risk reduction measure for the next few months. Plus Southwest’s policy on symptoms, applied across all airlines.

    This wave too shall pass…question is whether the roller coaster will head off the cliff at the beginning of October or the end of that month. In the mean time, when you look at various rules, there are indeed some that flat-out don’t make a lick of sense (ahem, asymmetric travel restrictions to areas that aren’t nearly as bad off as we now are) so we should drop ’em even though the optics of doing so is that they’d increase risk (but in reality the increase is a rounding error on a rounding error).

    Meanwhile, I’ll limit my outings, mask up, and watch Pfizer’s Delta-targeted vax trials to see when I’m likely to get my third shot. Because we have more than souble as many hospitalizations per day now as we had new cases per day 6-8 weeks ago here in Austin :(

  22. *Thanks Cranky. OK, let’s beat up the US Gov, and the airlines. Bring your information and data with you. Here we go.

    So, we have the big guy, HHS, and its Centers for Disease and Prevention, all in the Executive Branch, and Airline A vs. Airline B, and let’s not forget Airlines for America [I just love that name!] And we have the vaxers and the anti-vaxers, arguing about something paid by the Government, free to everyone, but of course if you pay taxes, you are paying it.

    We have some say: Everybody shall get vaxed, or as the Governor of Maryland put it: “Get the damn vaccine! Others say: I’m waiting for more data.” or “Nobody’s going to tell me what’s best for me and my family, or what I have to do!”

    Forget the information. Forget your data! Does anyone believe anyone on anything? When you hear someone say after getting Covid: But I was vaccinated. Do you believe the person saying this in this country today? I don’t. Well, maybe 1 percent, but no more.

    Would you believe a vaccine passport? Look at your little card. Flimsy, your name on it is probably wrong. Mine is. Tried to have it changed:
    “Sorry, no can do!” But, I guess it’s better than nothing.

    And the airlines. These are the folks who write rules, and make them mean whatever they want them to mean. Please! Let them write the health rules too?

    My solution: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Unlikely to work in this society.

    OK, my solution. Everybody, get vaccinated. Don’t want to? Pay the government on your tax form for the vaccine that was free to you, but you didn’t use. If you get sick, infect your kids, or anyone else, the bill is on you. Yes, you’ll be doing what you want to, and I’ll probably die, but oh thans for the funeral expense.

  23. The answer isnt more mandates. Its no mandates. Its understanding Zero Covid or the “War on Covid” is not an attainable goal and like the War on Drugs, or the War on Terror, well spend trillions and 20 years and accomplish jack.

    While it appears its a pipe dream, the answer is to learn to add another virus to the list of viruses we have always lived with.

    More madness, vaccine passports (which will impact people of color more than anyone – they have a difficult history with forced vaccinations – more craziness will solve nothing.

    1. I agree that Zeroism is the wrong target. That just means we need to focus more on mitigation strategies.

  24. Only read a couple comments until I saw the comment From cranky himself “…then I have no sympathy for them when they get severely ill.” What an awful thing to say. This is a silly blog that has gone too political. And this comes from a blogger who bit**es about every petty thing imaginable. This clown was a data analyst from America west. I’m done reading this circus show of a bi*** fest.

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Cranky Flier