With airlines receiving some of the hardest hits dealt by the COVID-19 pandemic, a pair of CEOs from major airlines are taking off their N-95 blindfolds and calling out the hysteria behind wearing masks.
During a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS.) inquired with various airline CEOs regarding the masking policies ailing several of their companies. Two of the CEOs were honest about the lack of data behind mask mandates.
“I think the case is very strong that masks don’t add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment. It is very safe and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting,” answered Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly.
“I concur,” added American Airlines CEO Doug Parker. “An aircraft is the safest place you can be. It’s true of all of our aircraft — they all have the same HEPA filters and airflow.”
As proponents for endless mask-wearing dissuade people from engaging in indoor settings without a covering, Kelly and Parker reiterated that masks have long been a poor strategy to reduce the projection of aerosol droplets containing COVID.
The CEOs championed a focus toward prioritizing ample ventilation inside these settings to mitigate any spread, compared to a loosely fitted mask, effectively.
A study out of the University of Waterloo tested the efficacy of the most commonly used masks seen along the pandemic. The study demonstrated that only 10 percent of droplets were contained when using a typical surgical mask. As for the highest-quality N95 masks, these proved to only contain about half of the droplets released, which was equivalent to using HEPA filters in a non-masked setting.
Since mask-wearing policies continue to be protected by political theater and influence, American Airlines acknowledged the intolerable PR hit on its way and attempted to retract Gary Parker’s denouncing of masks.
While acknowledging the efficacy of HEPA filters, which could saliently eliminate the call for mandatory masking during a flight, President of the Association of Flight Attendants Sara Nelson said that masks must remain a priority since not all airlines use the recommended HEPA filters.
A Danish study released in 2020, via The New York Times, also reported on the lack of protection available for those that wear masks.
“If masks don’t keep you from getting the virus … how do they keep you from spreading the virus to others if you wear one?” commented OutKick founder Clay Travis. “It seems totally illogical. Either masks work to restrict spread or they don’t.”
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela