It was unclear where the Post was sending Lorenz, the lightning-rod social media reporter whose latest editorial imbroglio involved stealth edits and an embarrassing correction to an article about how YouTubers cashed in on the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial. But in her Twitter plea, she referred to a health condition that she believes could make flying especially risky for her.
“I have to fly soon for work & as someone who is medically vulnerable I’m so scared,” Lorenz wrote. “All COVID precautions that keep high risk people safe have been dropped. I plan to keep an N95 on my face for all 7 hours w/ zero water breaks, but I’m scared it may not seal perfectly. Any tips?”
I have to fly soon for work & as someone who is medically vulnerable I’m so scared. All COVID precautions that keep high risk people safe have been dropped. I plan to keep an N95 on my face for all 7 hours w/ zero water breaks, but I’m scared it may not seal perfectly. Any tips?
— Taylor Lorenz @ VidCon (@TaylorLorenz) June 10, 2022
Indeed, the CDC requirement that had travelers mask up in airports and on flights was struck down in April, and more recently, the government announced that U.S.-bound international travelers would soon no longer had to show a negative test for the virus.
Some of Lorenz’s 324,500 Twitter followers jumped in with what they considered helpful advice.
“You are choosing between your job and your health,” one answered. “I’m sorry to have to put it bluntly, but I don’t think flying is safe right now for anyone, let alone someone medically vulnerable.”
Several told her to don a device called an “elastomeric,” a tight-fitting rubber mask with built-in air-purification filters. Others advised to bring her own hepa air purifier.
“[W]hen I was fitted for an n95 I was fitted through my work and they did this whole test on me to check it was sealed. put air on, visor, a n95, a hoodie on. id avoid using the bathroom personally. eat and drink after the service,” advised Anousha. “U will be good.”
One of the strangest warnings was to avoid brushing her teeth while in an airport bathroom.
“My girlfriend and I recently flew to Europe,” replied Sean Lynch. “We wore N95s the entire time with breaks only to eat. She got covid—best guess was tooth brushing at JFK (she got a covid exposure notification and I didn’t). Dont brush your teeth in an airport bathroom!”
Some advice was sarcastic.
“I was triple layered last week on a transcon flight and safely made it,” advised a Twitter user named SillyDilly. “Wear a N95 and seal the edges with surgical tape. Then wear a surgical mask on top of the N95. For a 3rd layer wear a cute cloth mask of your choice. You can also add a plastic face shield as 4th layer.”
“Tip: Consider driving instead, spare us the theatrics,” wrote Jason Roberge.
“Superglue and then a layer of caulk around the edges,” offered Joseph Massey.
— ⚡️ Man Alive ⚡️ (@bustin_jerkz) June 10, 2022
Lorenz, who worked at The New York Times before joining The Washington Post in February, specializes in social media stories. Recently, The Washington Post was forced to issue corrections to an article she wrote on the Depp-Heard trial in which she initially claimed to have sought comment from two YouTubers, Mazeika and ThatUmbrellaGuy. Both said that Lorenz never contacted them ahead of the story’s publication, and the claim was then removed without a correction. When Fox News asked if Lorenz herself quietly made the edit, a Post spokesperson said, “That’s not something we’d discuss on the record.”
In the same article, Lorenz wrongly attributed a statement to Johnny Depp lawyer Adam Waldman. A note on the article said that the story was indeed “updated to clarify comments made during Waldman’s testimony.”
Two months ago, Lorenz came under fire for revealing the identity of the woman behind Libs of TikTok, which reposts leftist content on its various social media pages. Lorenz ran a hit piece on the woman — which included her name and originally linked to personal work information, though the link was subsequently removed from the article. Several people made death threats to the woman — a Jewish stay-at-home mother — in the wake of the doxxing.
Libs of TikTok posted photos of the Washington Post reporter visiting her family members’ homes. Lorenz accused Libs of TikTok of purportedly having a “deep and far-reaching” impact, as well as “shaping right-wing media, impacting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and influencing millions by posting viral videos aimed at inciting outrage among the right.”