Mississippi leaders react to end of public transportation mask mandate

Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 5:08 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Mississippi leaders in D.C. and local health experts are weighing in on the end of the Centers for Disease Control’s mask mandate for public transportation.

If you’re planning on flying on an airplane or using public transportation soon, you won’t be required to wear a mask anymore, as a federal judge in Florida struck down the CDC’s mandate on Monday.

The decision gets the approval of Mississippi leaders.

“I just think that the right decision was made now that we have plenty vaccines and access to all the vaccines that those medical decisions can be made,” said Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Mississippi.

“It’s past time for this to happen,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi. “It’s totally voluntary. If someone feels that they might catch a communicable disease, they’re certainly free as they’ve always been to wear a mask. So, I think it’s time much as our European friends have already done to lift that mandate. So, really glad to see it.”

When it comes to airplanes, airflow seems to be the main concern in regard to how easily COVID-19 or other respiratory illnesses are spread.

According to local doctors, while airflow on aircraft isn’t too bad, it’s also not completely ideal.

“Air circulation on an airplane is really actually quite good, however, it’s not perfect, and you probably are exposed to the air of the rows one or two in front or behind you,” said Rambod Rouhbakhsh, M.D. with Hattiesburg Clinic & Forrest General Hospital.

They say it’s not just about what circulates mid-flight that could affect whether or not someone catches a disease.

“There’s a lot that goes on before you get onto that airplane and before the air starts circulating, including that narrow little hallway that everybody walks down and that, of course, is not even air-conditioned let alone air circulating,” Rouhbakhsh said. “And then you sit on the plane and depending on how long it takes before air starts circulating, there’s that risk as well.”

Meaning just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

“The safest thing to do always is to wear a mask,” Rouhbakhsh said.

The CDC first issued a mask mandate for public transportation in early 2021.

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