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A memo sent by Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian alerted employees that 460 people have been added to the no fly list for refusing to comply with mask mandates from the airline.
The no fly list is typically reserved for suspected terrorists.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have focused our efforts on protecting our people, our customers and our communities,” Bastian wrote in the memo obtained by ABC News.
Bastian added that it was now “as important as ever for us to be aware of the multiple layers of defense” against the China-originated novel coronavirus.
“Wearing a mask is among the simplest and most effective actions we can take to reduce transmission, which is why Delta has long required them for our customers and our people,” the CEO wrote. “As of this week, we’ve added 460 people to our no-fly list for refusing to comply with our mask requirement.”
Since the mask mandates have been implemented, even for very young travelers, there have been reports of mask-related incidents across major airlines.
For example, in September, a mother said she and her child were kicked off an American Airlines flight after the two-year-old boy would not put on his mask.
“It gets to the point where I’m crying so hard, I’m hysterical, I can’t even get a deep breath because my mask kept sucking into my mouth,” the mother recalled, according to CNN. “And then I’m shaking holding this piece of cloth to my son’s face so that we can take off and they [flight crew] were standing over me in the aisle saying they had to watch me repeatedly put the mask on him.”
Early on in the pandemic, public health officials told the general population to not wear masks. Later, however, they changed their tune on face coverings and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) likewise issued guidance recommending masks.
White House Coronavirus Task Force leading voice Dr. Anthony Fauci told “60 Minutes” in March that face masks were not necessary for the general population amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, noting that while masks might make people “feel a little bit better,” they don’t provide the protection folks believe they do and might create “unintended consequences.”
“When it comes to preventing coronavirus, public health officials have been clear: Healthy people do not need to wear a face mask to protect themselves from COVID-19,” CBS News reported March 8, concerning the Fauci interview.
“There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” the infectious disease expert told “60 Minutes.”
“While masks may block some droplets, Fauci said, they do not provide the level of protection people think they do,” CBS News reported at the time. “Wearing a mask may also have unintended consequences: People who wear masks tend to touch their face more often to adjust them, which can spread germs from their hands.”
“There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask when you’re in the middle of an outbreak,” Fauci doubled-down. “Wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is. And often, there are unintended consequences; people keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face.”
“When you think mask, you should think of health care providers needing them and people who are ill,” added the medical expert.
In early April, Fauci embraced new pro-mask CDC guidelines and told “Fox & Friends” viewers “to ‘wear some sort of facial covering’ when you’re in public and can’t socially distance because of new information the ‘virus can actually be spread even when people just speak as opposed to coughing and sneezing,'” Forbes reported.
Fauci then acknowledged in July his change on masks, adding that he doesn’t regret his previous anti-mask statements.
“I don’t regret anything I said then because in the context of the time in which I said it, it was correct,” he told CBS correspondent Norah O’Donnell, according to Business Insider. “We were told in our task force meetings that we have a serious problem with the lack of PPEs and masks for the health providers who are putting themselves in harm’s way every day to take care of sick people.”
“When it became clear that the infection could be spread by asymptomatic carriers who don’t know they’re infected, that made it very clear that we had to strongly recommend masks,” Fauci noted.