November 16, 2021
What air travel needs right now is more restrictions, said 37 Democratic lawmakers in a letter to President Biden, saying, "as the nation approaches holiday season, we ask that you put in place requirements for airline passengers to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID or a negative test to board a domestic flight." Their call for further travel restrictions doesn't just unhappily coincide with the holiday travel season; they explicitly cite that as a reason to enact the restrictions.
These would-be scrooges should have asked the airlines. Just as retailers and other businesses who survive on December sales begged the Biden administration to postpone the employer vaccine mandate until January, so airlines "have come out months ago and said that they were opposed to" the travel mandate," said Congressman Garret Graves (R-La.).
Businesses live in the real world, where they must respond to market forces if they want to survive. Therefore, they recognize (far more than D.C. politicians) that most Americans who haven't gotten vaccinated don't appear to be changing their minds, regardless of the carrots and sticks the federal government wields.
"Many Americans remain reluctant to spending [sic] extended periods of time in enclosed public spaces due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure," continues the letter. Assuming that's true, whose fault is that? Graves, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said top researchers have testified before Congress "that airline travel is safe, that they effectively had not found any cases of where transmission happened on an airplane." Air cabin ventilation entirely recycles the air within seconds; any infected air doesn't linger long enough to infect anyone else.
But the Democrats' claim is more a symptom of their "Forever Covidism" than an accurate reflection of what Americans are thinking. COVID is no longer the foremost issue in voters' minds, as the 2021 elections and recent polls have shown. In fact, there are probably more Americans "reluctant to spend extended periods of time in enclosed public spaces" because they're required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.
Let's face it; Democrats are simply pulling power levers for the fun of it. The Democrats who wrote this letter didn't do it because Americans are too scared to fly. They did it to punish the unvaccinated, so they can't see their families for the holidays without jumping through extra hoops to show proof of a negative test. Just like the U.S. Navy is withholding promotions and pay from the .5 percent of unvaccinated, active-duty sailors. All for a virus with an over 98 percent survival rate.
Speaking of tests, Graves warned that if we suddenly start requiring all unvaccinated Americans to get tested before doing things like flying, we "probably don't even have the capacity to do the testing quickly." That will add travel delays on top of those that will be created by vaccine mandates on air traffic controllers, TSA employees, and airline staff.
Which creates more travel headaches: a chronically understaffed airport, or one in which a small percentage of staff aren't fully vaccinated? "You think you've seen bad holiday travel conditions? You just wait," warned Graves.
"Forever Covidism" is now a far more dangerous pandemic than COVID. Its symptoms include unchecked government tyranny, punishing people for personal medical decisions, needless fearmongering, hampering early childhood development and education, exacerbating depression and addictions, destroying livelihoods, and separating families.
That's far worse, for most Americans, than contracting COVID. There is cure available for Forever Covidism – it's called freedom – but we must use it!