The United States’ top infectious diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci has called for unvaccinated passengers to be barred from flights saying that removing masks on airplanes is ‘not something we should even be considering,’ .
He made his comments even as hundreds of flights in the U.S. continue to be canceled due to the spread of the Omicron variant across the country.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week programme on Sunday night, December 26, Fauci responded to Jonathan Karl’s question on the possibility of introducing a vaccine mandate for domestic air travel.
‘We want to make sure people keep their masks on. I think the idea of taking masks off, in my mind, is really not something we should even be considering,’ Fauci said.
Earlier this month, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly told a senate hearing that masks ‘don’t add much, when it comes to protecting airline passengers from spreading COVID.
‘And of course, the airline CEOs were suggesting that — you know, that we may not — may no longer need a mask. I hear you loud and clearly, you disagree with that on an — on the airplane,’
Fauci has now disagreed with the airline executive’s view saying government may introduce a vaccine mandate for domestic and international air travel to increase the percentage of vaccine rollout across the U.S.
‘A vaccine requirement for a person getting on the plane is just another level of getting people to have a mechanism that would spur them to get vaccinated; namely, you can’t get on a plane unless you’re vaccinated, which is just another one of the ways of getting requirements, whatever that might be,’ Fauci said.
‘So I mean, anything that could get people more vaccinated would be welcome. But with regard to the spread of virus in the country, I mean, I think if you look at wearing a mask and the filtration on planes, things are reasonably safe,’ he continued.
About 204,740,321 Americans or 62 percent of the population have received both COVID-vaccine doses.