CDC Issues Mask Mandate For Persons "While on Conveyances and at Transportation Hubs"

Good luck to the parents of two-year-olds, who now have to wear a mask on all flights.

|

Yesterday, the CDC issued an eleven-page order that required people to wear masks "while on conveyances and at transportation hubs." The order does not apply in jurisdictions that have requirements that are equivalent to, or more stringent than, the federal mandate.

Here is a brief summary:

(1) Persons must wear masks over the mouth and nose when traveling on conveyances into and within the United States. Persons must also wear masks at transportation hubs as defined in this Order.

(2) A conveyance operator transporting persons into and within the United States? must require all persons onboard to wear masks for the duration of travel.

(3) A conveyance operators operating a conveyance arriving at or departing from a U.S. port of entry must require all persons on board to wear masks for the duration of travel as a condition of controlled free pratique.

The CDC will require "conveyance operators" to use "best efforts" to ensure compliance. In short, no mask, no service.

(4) Conveyance operators must use best efforts to ensure that any person on the conveyance wears a mask when boarding, disembarking, and for the duration of travel. Best efforts include:

  • boarding only those persons who wear masks;
  • instructing persons that Federal law requires wearing a mask on the conveyance and failure to comply constitutes a violation of Federal law;
  • monitoring persons onboard the conveyance for anyone who is not wearing a mask and
  • seeking compliance from such persons;
  • at the earliest opportunity, disembarking any person who refuses to comply; and
  • providing persons with prominent and adequate notice to facilitate awareness and compliance of the requirement of this Order to wear a mask; best practices may include, if feasible, advance notifications on digital platforms, such as on apps, websites, or email; posted signage in multiple languages with illustrations; printing the requirement on transit tickets; or other methods as appropriate.

The order adopts the regulatory definition of "conveyance," with one addition. Rideshare–a relatively new mode of transportation–is embraced within "conveyance."

Conveyance shall have the same definition as under 42 CFR 70.1, meaning "an aircraft, train, road vehicle, [FN5] vessel . . . or other means of transport, including military." Included in the definition of "conveyance" is the term "carrier" which under 42 CFR 71.1 has the same definition as conveyance under 42 CFR 70.1.

FN5: This includes rideshares meaning arrangements where passengers travel in a privately owned road vehicle driven by its owner in connection with a fee or service.

It is less clear that the federal government has authority over privately owned cars that are used for local, intrastate transportation.

Indeed, the definition of "interstate travel" includes intrastate travel:

Interstate traffic shall have the same definition as under 42 CFR 70.1, meaning

"(1): (i) The movement of any conveyance or the transportation of persons or property, including any portion of such movement or transportation that is entirely within a state or possession

(ii) From a point of origin in any state or possession to a point of destination in any other state or possession; or

(iii) Between a point of origin and a point of destination in the same state or possession but through any other state, possession, or contiguous foreign country.

(2) Interstate traffic does not include the following:

(i) The movement of any conveyance which is solely for the purpose of unloading persons or property transported from a foreign country or loading persons or property for transportation to a foreign country.

(ii) The movement of any conveyance which is solely for the purpose of effecting its repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or storage."

And "intrastate traffic" includes:

Intrastate traffic means the movement of any conveyance or the transportation or movement of persons occurring solely within the boundaries of a state or territory, or on tribal land.

Transportation hubs includes a wide range of places, including those limited to intrastate travel, such as outdoor local bus stops:

Transportation hub means any airport, bus terminal, marina, seaport or other port, subway station, terminal (including any fixed facility at which passengers are picked-up or discharged), train station, U.S. port of entry, or any other location that provides transportation subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

The mandate includes five exemptions:

  • While eating, drinking, or taking medication, for brief periods;
  • While communicating with a person who is hearing impaired when the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
  • If, on an aircraft, wearing of oxygen masks is needed because of loss of cabin pressure or other event affecting aircraft ventilation;
  • If unconscious (for reasons other than sleeping), incapacitated, unable to be awakened, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance;' or
  • When necessary to temporarily remove the mask to verify one's identity such as during Transportation Security Administration screening or when asked to do so by the ticket or gate agent or any law enforcement official.

Three categories of people are exempted from the mandate:

  •  child under the age of 2 years;
  • A person with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, because of the disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. FN9 [This is a narrow exception that includes a person with a disability who cannot wear a mask for reasons related to the disability.]
  • A person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations.

I follow travel blogs closely. There are many, many stories about two-year-old toddlers who cannot wear masks. In most cases, the flight attendants look the other way. But in some cases, the flight attendants forcibly remove the families from the flight. Invariably, these removals create a lot of chaos, where people are stuck on the tarmac for extended periods of time. In the past, airlines had discretion. Now, with a federal mandate, there will be a zero tolerance policy. Airlines would be on the hook for potential liability if a two year old fails to weak a mask. Delta airlines, for example, had permitted some young toddlers to skip mask wearing. Now, that leniency goes away. Good luck to parents who need to keep a mask on a two-year-old's face for a three hour flight.

NEXT: Vegan Butter Can Be Called "Butter"—But Not "Hormone Free" or "Revolutionizing Dairy with Plants"

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Congratulations! You traded “Orange Man Bad” for “Senile Guy Worse”

    1. B. Hussein Obama is many things, unfortunately “senile” isn’t one of them.

      1. I don’t recall Obama on the ballot last November.

        Perhaps we can impeach HIM.

        1. You can’t impeach him; he’s still a democrat.

          1. Its scary some people believe Biden has made any decisions, or has any agenda. Look at who surrounds him. (he didn’t choose them either.}

        2. Whom do you think is the power behind the throne?

          1. The Jews, obviously. Who else?

            1. Careful, it’s hard to tell if that is ironic in these parts.

          2. There are kingmakers, but there are no “powers behind the throne”, because the throne has power once you get it.

  2. I would ask where exactly the cdc’s authority to unilaterally do this comes from (even federal regulations require notice and comment) but I suppose we are well within “let’s make things up as we go along” territory so idk.

    I dont understand why can’t we just approve J&J, novavax, and Astrazeneca tomorrow and get this over with in 2 weeks. The supply should be there. The demand certainly is. Instead I see everyone focusing on the demand problem when that by and large is clearly not the issue.

    1. I ask the CDC’s authority to say “Federal LAW” when it is actually a “Federal REGULATION.”

      There *is* a difference between the two, or at least there used to be…

      1. You don’t think regulations are law?

        1. No, I think they are regulations.

          1. What does that have to do with whether they are law? Do you think complying with regulation is optional, and that courts are powerless to enforce them?

    2. Formally, the authority comes from 42 USC 264(a). It remains to be seen if the courts will read give any meaning to the requirement that the order be intended to reduce transmission between states, or if it will be read like “interstate commerce” and apply without limit to intrastate activity. I should note that the First Circuit recently rejected an argument that it didn’t make sense to try to prevent transmission between two thoroughly infected states. (Reviewing the Maine governor’s emergency quarantine order.)

      1. By the time the courts rule on it in any authoritative matter, the issue will be moot. The CDC knows that that the scientific basis for masking is exceedingly weak but there is almost no consequence to demanding it nevertheless.

    3. I would ask where exactly the cdc’s authority to unilaterally do this comes from (even federal regulations require notice and comment)

      Came here to ask this, however rhetorically. It purports to bypass notice/comment because Big Scary Emergency (natch), but the supposed existing statutory authority is… well, sketchy: “This Order is not a rule within the meaning of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) but rather is an emergency action taken under the existing authority of 42 U.S.C. 264(a) and 42 CFR 70.2, 71.31(b), 71.32(b)”

      264(a) and 70.2 authorize regulations/actions to prevent introduction/transmission/spread of disease into the country or from one state to another state. The order goes way past that scope. 71.31(b) and 71.32(b) are even more afield, being scoped to people/animals/things arriving in the country.

      So apparently this is a federal-level “here’s a bunch of statutes about public health — the authority must be in there somewhere” overreach just like we saw from a bunch of states/cities last year.

      I dont understand why can’t we just approve J&J, novavax, and Astrazeneca tomorrow and get this over with in 2 weeks.

      Ask Rahm — I bet he has some thoughts.

    4. The same place the CDC’s authority came to implement a moratorium on evictions. From thin air. The same place that the “right” to kill unborn babies and the “right” to shoot off in another man’s tuchis came from.

      1. Trigger warning for those of us drinking coffee when reading the comments, please?

        1. Drinking coffee at 6 p.m.?

  3. Just as we have finally gotten rid of the fake service animals those unemployed in that industry can now switch over to the fake I’m disabled and can’t wear a mask industry.

    Southwest Airlines had banned anyone who won’t wear a mask. I think this will force them to carry those with fake Doctors notes.

    1. How can they require a doctor’s note without violating HIPPA?

      1. Huh? How does requiring a note violate HIPAA? The airline tells the patient that he needs to produce a note, and the patient asks the doctor for one. The doctor is writing the note at the patient’s request, so no violation. Where else does HIPAA come in?

        1. Huh? How does requiring a note violate HIPAA?

          Especially given that he said “HIPPA” rather than “HIPAA,” I think/hope that longtobefree is making fun of people like Dr. Ed who routinely make shit up about the law.

          1. Or else he can’t type worth a damn, and there’s no edit function, and he’s too lazy to correct with a comment?

            1. This is the way.

            2. So you weren’t joking? Sigh.

              HIPAA limits what information medical providers (this includes insurance companies in this context) can disclose without permission. It imposes precisely zero restrictions on anyone else. I — not being your doctor — can ask for your private medical information.¹ I can talk about your private medical information. None of that violates HIPAA; HIPAA just doesn’t apply.

              ¹Of course, if I ask your doctor, HIPAA limits what he can say without your permission. But my asking isn’t governed by HIPAA.

        2. The note discloses privileged medical information about a disability.
          The employee asking to see the note is requesting access to that information.

          1. As Milhouse notes, because the note is requested, the privilege is waved.

            1. Note: I know zero about HIPAA, so I might be super wrong, but assuming there is a privilege that operates, Millhouse’s seems to make a really good point.

              1. He’s right. HIPPAA protects you against unauthorized disclosure, but not against the consequences of refusing to authorize disclosure. You go on sick leave, your employer can’t order your doctor to show them your medical records, but CAN refuse to let you go back to work if you don’t authorize them to see them.

                Such a note typically wouldn’t go into detail, though. “SarcastrO has a valid medical condition that precludes wearing a mask for extended periods.”, not, “SarcastrO is so convinced that wearing masks is silly that he might strain a muscle rolling his eyes if forced to wear one.”

          2. The question is if the MD note has to say *why* a mask can’t be worn, or just that it can’t.

            1. Experts don’t have to answer why? questions. The left tells us that every day. They just state their pronouncements and their credentials and that’s the final word on the subject. You’re not allowed to ask why or see their data or anything else that they used to decide. You’re supposed to meekly agree.

              If you question expert pronouncements then they’ll name-call you.

              1. ADA has limits on what can be asked of a disabled person. This is mostly “guidance” but it’s caused a lot of problems with people claiming disabilities when they are afflicted with a condition which may not exist of when the make up some invisible disability.

            2. It doesn’t matter. HIPAA is perfectly fine with an airline saying “unless you authorize your doctor to tell us exactly what’s wrong with you, we will not let you on our planes”. The only thing it forbids is the doctor telling the airline without the patient’s permission.

              1. HIPAA may be fine with that, but ADA is not. The doctor can say that you have a disability that does not allow ‘xyz’ (and require ‘abc’ accommodations for said disability if you request it). The doctor does not have to say what exactly the disability is.

                The airline cannot require that you tell them exactly what the disability. That requires release of medical information to which they are not entitled. They can and should ask you what accommodation you are requesting for your disability upon producing the doctor’s note.

                However the airline CAN also refuse to fly you because they cannot meet the request. Just as a store does not have to let you inside just because you can’t wear a mask, but they can offer you alternatives.

  4. So a year after the virus arrived in the United States, and after a year of the federal government not imposing a mask mandate and early on arguing against a mandate, this is suddenly an emergency allowing waiver of APA rules and OMB review. (Page 10, first full paragraph.) Relying on the legal principle that abrupt reversals of agency policy are disfavored, could a judge order regular procedures to be followed? All it takes is one federal judge anywhere to issue a nationwide injunction.

    1. Some challenges to portions of the order based on statutory and interstate commerce limitations might succeed. But I don’t think this one would.

      There is a very obvious basis for the change in opinion. Expert opinion changed as more evidence developed about the virus. Very little was known about it in the first few months. More became known about it later, and a variety of practice recommendations changed to reflect new knowledge.

      I think courts would have no problem accepting this. The concern has been not with abrupt changes in policy per se, but abrupt changes in policy with no evidence of change in the underlying science or expert opinion.

      Here there is plenty of evidence of exactly this kind of change. So it shouldn’t be a problem.

      1. This entire line of inquiry is not something I care about, but I make a point of saying, whenever I see someone say “the science evolved” that it is not true in regard to the virus being airborne. That was known immediately, was known when the cops in Wuhan were threatening doctors, when travel was not banned inside China, when China denied evidence of human to human transmission, when Fauci downplayed the importance of mask wearing, when others took that up, and so on. The science on that never changed.

  5. Published in the Federal Register for review and comment?

    1. The order says it is not an APA rule and if it were a rule it would be exempt from notice and comment. The enabling act refers to 42 USC 264(a) orders as “regulations” so the first part smells fishy to me.

      1. I haven’t dealt with APA issues in decades, so these are serious questions to anyone knowledgeable. What makes a rule or regulation NOT an APA rule or regulation? If it IS subject to the APA I assume that under emergency circumstances a rule can go into effect immediately, for a limited period of time, pending review and comment. Is that the case here?

  6. Interesting: no exceptions for those vaccinated, or those who have already had the Communist Chinese Virus.
    Science?

    Suggestion to the next insurrection; leave the capitol alone, and gut the CDC; destroy every printer in sight.

    1. The maskerbatory Karens have just now finished putting the final polish on their screeching lectures, so vaccinations aren’t going to change anything for quite some time.

    2. “Interesting: no exceptions for those vaccinated, or those who have already had the Communist Chinese Virus.
      Science?”

      Science – Because there is a remote – “extremely remote ” possibility that the previously infected person could transmit covid – Science – the “science of irrational fear”

      1. Martinned – the Nature article confirms my statement – The risk of Transmission from someone previously infected with covid or someone vaccinated remains remain. Contrary to the fear contained in the article that the virus could spread, the underlying data shows the risk of transmission remains “remote”.

        1. It does. My comment didn’t reply to yours. Whether a remote chance of infection should nonetheless be prevented is a policy question, as is the question whether it is practically possible to separate those who’ve already have Covid from those who have not.

  7. How will this dictate treat a two year old who identifies as one year old?

    1. What is the science behind two years as the cut off point?

      1. One of the causes of SIDS is fabric covering the face. I suspect they picked two years as being old enough that they wouldn’t be killing babies in such large numbers that it couldn’t be ignored.

        1. Wouldn’t that be a nice change? Smart people, educated in their field, making rational policies based on science.

          Someone would be losing his job.

        2. They could ignore it no matter how much harm they caused. They’ve been practicing.

        3. I have been going along with the mask lie, to get along and out of respect for my fellows. But the govt mandate will get all the respect its due.
          Fashioning a mask now so thin its translucent and you can make out my lips.
          But its a mask.
          Carry on science deniers.

  8. Given that the nation struggles at the peak of a pandemic now threatening to run amok via mutation, I suggest a formal adjustment to the regulatory status quo. Make reasonable (as determined politically) pandemic-control measures the presumptive default. Require challenges to show by scientific evidence that relaxation of requirements will do no harm.

    1. Ahh, yes, just like gun control laws. Every “reasonable” law, if found unconstitutional, can be replaced with another “reasonable” law and tie the plaintiffs up in court for years.

      1. You know that all of this type of creativity got started when you people tried to get out from under the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, right?

        https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/383/301

    2. Given that the nation struggles at the peak of a pandemic now threatening to run amok via mutation

      Wow, that was poignantly pitch perfect. It’s amazing what a year of practice can do.

      But you’re about three weeks late on the “peak” bit. 7-day moving average is down a mere 40% in 21 days. Can I call that “exponential decline” or something similarly catchy?

      No wonder you threw in the Big Scary Mutation part. How else are you going to keep folks whipped into a lather?

    3. Well, considering the CDC, NIH, Lancet, and New England Journal of Medicine have all published peer reviewed metastudies that show that the cloth masks worn by people have no statistically significant effect on the spread of coronaviruses, the science is quite clear that this order does nothing on that front.

      The fact that a new set of political appointees from the Church of Masks are now pushing their fetish on everyone else does not change the science. Only science deniers would argue for a infringement on the rights of the people when the evidence says otherwise.

      1. Thats because the CDC NIH were testing single masks to show the ineffectiveness of a single mask , thus the importance of wearing two masks –

        Proof that double masks work – time to get with the science

        sarc

    4. So, basically, you can just suspend the Bill of Rights the minute you say COVID.

      Putin and Xi are happy to hear it.

      1. Which part of the bill of rights, exactly, gives you the right not to wear a mask? Or is that one of those penumbras?

        1. In this case, the 10th amendment. Since you asked.

          1. If you want to argue that the US version of Federalism is completely broken, and needs an urgent overhaul, I’m all with you. But that didn’t seem to be the argument Bored Lawyer was making.

      2. Some of us have warned of this since February. The ability to declare a National emergency and suspend the Bill of Rights has no end in sight.
        The Majority Leader of the Senate asked the Executive Branch to declare ACGCC (Antropologic, Catastrophic, Global Climate Change a National Emergency
        Legislative action is not required to advance their agenda.

    5. Holy shit, are you serious? Please show me where such a test is laid out in the Bill of Rights.

      1. Sure, as soon as you show me where the Bill of Rights says anything about masks.

      2. You are ignoring all the judicial rulings that have barred persons for exercising their religion?

    6. “Require challenges to show by scientific evidence that relaxation of requirements will do no harm.”

      You realize that there is no way to prove a negative, yes? Farting in a mall is almost certainly safe, but proving that no harm whatsoever might result from my fart is impossible.

    7. My ‘reasonable’ (as determined politically by ME) pandemic-control measure is that you can no longer speak. You are now required to show by scientific evidence that relaxation of that requirement will do no harm.

      I’ll enjoy the silence, I think.

    8. Agreed. To the extent there’s uncertainty here, are you mask skeptics even considering the huge asymmetry in social (not just personal) cost between Type 1 and Type 2 errors? Based on the discussion here, the answer would appear to be almost always No (hey, it’s only lives, right?).

  9. Bureaucrats love bullying people. I think they specifically required masks for two-year-olds because of the problems it would cause. If you can’t use your power to make life worse for people in visible ways, is it even really power?

    1. I was at a park recently where the power tripping low-functioning black (I know, it’s redundant) who worked there kicked out a mother and her 2 or 3 year old because the kid took off the mask, like kids do.

  10. 2-4 years of this, and there won’t be much left of federalism. But Trump’s not President anymore, and that’s the important thing. Right?

    As you report each new outrage, have the decency to admit you own a piece of it.

    1. Brett, outrage? No mask is an outrage. Defiance of social norms in place to control a pandemic is an outrage. Insistence that personal liberty trumps right to life is an outrage.

      Operators of transport will suffer little difficulty enforcing mask rules. Passengers grateful for explicit legal protection will now feel free to assist, and pressure defiant fools into compliance, or see them hustled off.

      1. Good Lord.

        The next iteration of the Constitution needs to have a complete and total prohibition on the concept of “emergency measure”; our politicians have proved that they absolutely cannot use that power reasonably.

        1. “our politicians have proved that they absolutely cannot use that power reasonably”

          In WWII, the U.S. suffered 291K combat KIA (from an admittedly smaller population). As of yesterday the U.S. covid death count was 450K.

          How do you feel about the various emergency measures taken in WWII – the War Production Board, blackout restrictions, stopping the production of automobiles, seizing land for bases, the draft, and so on?

          1. In WWII, the U.S. suffered 291K combat KIA (from an admittedly smaller population). As of yesterday the U.S. covid death count was 450K.

            I wonder what the WWII death stats would have been had the standard been “served in the military and subsequently died”?

            1. By that standard the stats are rapidly approaching 100%.

          2. Japanese internment, dissolving the Reichstag, bombing of Hiroshima/Nagasaki,… where exactly are you going with this Absaroka?

          3. Far more die from avoidable cardiopulmonary diseases every year. No, we should not eliminate our rights to compel people to eat better and exercise in the name of safety.

            Wars have been fought over less.

      2. Passengers grateful for explicit legal protection will now feel free to assist, and pressure defiant fools into compliance, or see them hustled off.

        To the showers, or the ovens? Step back and listen to yourself for just a minute.

        1. “To the showers, or the ovens?”

          Gotta call this out. Holocaust jokes aren’t funny. They weren’t funny when the lefties were calling ICE detention facilities ‘concentration camps’, and they aren’t funny when you conflate getting thrown off an airplane with getting sent to a death camp. Have some decency.

          1. Actual death camps are what the left has in store for Americans.

          2. It wasn’t a joke, and I wasn’t conflating anything.

            As aptly demonstrated by history, populations who get caught up in mass hysteria can end up doing things that even they would have thought of as shocking and reprehensible at a more sober moment.

            The bottom line is that there’s a mob increasingly cheering for the isolation and punishment of a specific group they’ve been convinced is the cause of their big problems in life. The fact that today’s particular punishment is the inability to travel is beside the point.

            1. LoB, wearing a mask in a pandemic is not a punishment. That you suppose it is a punishment suggests that your own sense of personal liberty is narcissistic, and out of phase with human decency.

              Leaving that aside, your peculiar and extreme sense of personal liberty has overwhelmed even your pragmatic self-interest. A blanket requirement for masks is a protection for you, and for anyone you cherish, love, or protect.

              Finally, there is no mass hysteria. There is a better-informed (than you) consensus, about potential risks of this pandemic. That includes a possibility that if left unconstrained, this virus may yet deliver up far worse outcomes than it has so far done.

              It would be stupid, of course, to suppose that only you care about personal liberty. You need not fear that the pandemic will end, and no one except yourself will then call for an end to emergency measures.

              1. The chief hysterian has spoken!

                It’s not mass hysteria if government jerks are only oppressing you to optimize their spreadsheets, LoB! Your life and everything about it must serve the technocrats! Where do you think you are? In a free country or something?

                1. Ben_, LoB, Brett, you guys are probably too old now, but it would have been better if you had tried work at a place where safety mattered. You might have learned something.

                  I worked plenty with guys like you, doing dangerous work. Nobody wanted guys like you around. They were the guys who would grab a compressed-air grinder, and and blast shredded asbestos off a boiler head gasket, until it fell like snow on everyone in the shop. Or take the guard off a 15hp chop saw. Anybody tried to tell those guys anything, they would just say it was safe, and light a cigarette.

                  Pretty soon, no one else would go near—just flat refused to team with them. The union backed that. Then, of course, managers had to let them go.

                  One time, I decided I couldn’t wait, and quit myself. The foreman and shop steward chased me out the door, begging me to stay on. I said my life wasn’t worth it.

                  It was the best-paying shop job I ever had, the most interesting, and the most challenging. I loved it. Had to quit anyway. Because when you have a self-regarding idiot who doesn’t care, he’s a menace to everyone.

                  You guys should have learned that already. It’s pretty clear you never will.

                  1. I’ve worked in industry most of my life. Summer jobs in foundries. Designing production tooling, then going out in the shop and making it. So I find your comments amusing.

                    This isn’t about whether wearing masks is a good idea. It’s about whether the federal government issuing this order is constitutional.

                    If you think they’re the same question, you’re a bigger danger to this country than Covid ever was.

                  2. Yeah, OK, friend. If you’re truly convinced in your heart of hearts that mandating that everyone on the face of the planet wear a face mask involves anything remotely close to the same set of risks, rewards, and potential unintended consequences as mandating safety guards on industrial-grade chop saws, the paranoia-come-aggression makes even more sense.

                    But I think this is guiding us toward an even simpler solution to this dilemma: You don’t step foot out of your house ever again, at least until all motor vehicles are equipped with 12 MPH governors so there’s no reasonable possibility one of them might ever significantly injure you. The rest of us will get on with our lives.

                  3. Cool story. I like stories with vampires.

                    You know life isn’t a factory, right? You’re not the shop foreman of everyone’s day from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to sleep. People didn’t apply for a job in your factory world. You’re not paying us. We don’t want to work anywhere near you either. (Does anyone actually like being around psycho-hall-monitor people?) Why don’t you go play do what I say because I’m your mom somewhere else?

                  4. You have proven repeatedly that you are incapable of judging risk, and in the case of COVID-19, you have gone past rational or scientifically based decisions into pure panic reactions.

                    Your irrelevant stories have no connection to wearing masks, and merely claiming that something else is dangerous, therefore not wearing a mask is dangerous doesn’t even rise to the level of an argument – at least, not to anyone except a two year old.

              2. We’re not talking about the masks. What about shutting down and destroying small businesses, while letting Walmart stay open? What about closing gun stores as “non-essential” while leaving weed stores open? What about prohibiting in-person worship while allowing in-person shopping?

                1. We’re not talking about the masks. What about shutting down and destroying small businesses, while letting Walmart stay open?

                  Where the hell does this moronic MAGA talking point come from? Can you point to a single rule anywhere in any state that has different rules on whether the business can be open based on nothing more than the size of the business? (As opposed to what the business sells, I mean.)

                  1. There was some of that early on here in WA. Not based on size directly, but the big box stores could stay open because they sold ‘essentials’, while small places got shut down. As an example, hardware stores could stay open because they are arguably essential … if say your only commode breaks, getting the parts to fix it matters for public health. So Home Depot, say, could stay open – but if you went there, no one was in the plumbing aisle, while the garden center was thronged (because it was spring, and people were staying home…). Meanwhile, the Mom-n-Pop local nursery/garden place was shut down as non-essential.

                    One state, not WA as I recall, tried for a while to make the Big Box places tape off all but the ‘essential’ aisles.

                    I saw another article – one of the sporting goods chains (Dick’s??) had made a big deal about not selling guns a while back, and so had to close as non-essential, while their competitors (Big 5??) had a gun counter, so they could stay open while briskly selling the 98% of their inventory that wasn’t guns.

                    This was pretty widely reported. It was a fairly short lived phase.

                    If you were just being pedantic that ‘What about shutting down and destroying small businesses, while letting Walmart stay open?’ should have explained the situation in more detail, nevermind 🙂

                    1. None of that validates Ed’s post as at all true. Neither about size, nor about how it’s a generalizable phenomenon.

                    2. Not ed, Aktenberg78

                2. That’s the point. Joe’s Clothing Boutique can’t stay open, but Walmart can, because it sells “essential items,” and while it’s at it, can sell those non-essential clothes as well.

                  You don’t see a problem with this? Government choosing winners? Joe’s Clothing Boutique has to borrow from the bank at 15% with a personal guaranty, while the Gap can float bonds on the capital markets at 2% because of the Fed’s deranged printing and other monetary activities. This seems okay to you?

                  1. Looks like Absaroka beat me to it.

                  2. So now you’re embracing a disparate impact argument? Do you apply this universally, or only to retail outlets?

                    The point is that WalMart could stay open under the rules while Joe’s Clothing Store couldn’t, not because WalMart is big and Joe’s is small, but because WalMart sells things that are deemed essential and Joe’s Clothing Store doesn’t. Joe’s Grocery Store or Joe’s Hardware Store or Joe’s Auto Repair Store can stay open, even though they’re just as small as Joe’s Clothing Store, because they did sell things in the essential category.

                    Now if they had set out a rule that only stores that sold things in many product categories could stay open, then one might reasonably describe that as shutting down small businesses while letting WalMart stay open. But they didn’t.

                    (The borrowing argument is even sillier. Bigger, established companies are generally going to be more creditworthy than small ones, and that has nothing to do with the Fed’s policies.)

              3. SL, I’m not going to address your (I presume sincere) beliefs about the supremacy of the cloistered set whose spreadsheet-based extrapolations have ruled this debacle. Knock yourself out.

                What I am asking you to do is think twice before amplifying the bloodthirsty chant to marginalize (or worse) those who have sincere (and data-driven) beliefs to the contrary. And trying to revamp that chant into “it’s for your own good — and your loved ones” just makes it more Orwellian.

                You need not fear that the pandemic will end, and no one except yourself will then call for an end to emergency measures.

                March 16, 2020: “15 days to slow the spread.” Yup, nothing to fear at all.

                1. The call to treat both sides with respect is not compatible with invoking the Holocaust.

                  1. Hardly a surprise, but glad to hear you’re cool with keeping the mob mentality on hard boil, oh Supreme Even Handed One.

                  2. Never stops the Dems though. They’ve been doing it since 2016.

                2. Life of Brian — your responses to my comments—and the would-be denials-in-principle that are piling up from others—are deeply suspect. They depend on a fact about this pandemic which is arbitrary and particular—that there is extraordinary variation in outcomes based on age.

                  Were that not true, then Covid19 might well prove potentially lethal to 5% or more of the U.S. population. Medical capacity to deal with Covid19 would be overwhelmed several times over. Available medical staffing would depend on demands for utter heroism, and suffer accordingly—either from self-protection or from medical attrition. In a case of that sort, minimizers pretending principled objections to masks, and to government emergency powers generally, would either be chastened and silent, or viewed nearly universally as actually insane. To advocate then as the minimizers are doing on this thread would invite violent retaliation.

                  So the arguments of minimizers are exposed as special pleading, based on nothing more than a happenstance advantage so many of them enjoy. So situated, they posit “principles,” which can not withstand generalization, while in effect assailing the health and well-being of millions of people who through no fault of their own are more vulnerable than the minimizers are. That is pretty ugly, but it is far from as bad as it could be.

                  The definitive pandemic—the big one, as some call it—could be multiples worse than 5% lethal. Such events have been commonplace throughout history. Scientific capacity to hold such events at bay is far from assured. When it arrives, a threat of that magnitude will have to be met by every available means. No increment of defense, however slight, would be beneath notice or barred from use. Gauged against events of that scale, government emergency powers far more draconian than any in use now would not only go unquestioned, but would be actively and nearly-universally demanded.

                  Please, describe your, “principled,” argument against government emergency powers which can withstand context of an overwhelmingly lethal pandemic. And before you answer, consider that Covid19 may be only a few mutations away from turning into such a threat.

                  With luck, experience and further scientific work may show such an outcome for Covid19 to be highly unlikely. At present, we have not that experience, and we are awaiting the scientific work and the luck. Given today’s demonstrable losses, given today’s unknowns, and given the stakes to be lost for misjudgment of the future, why take such a bet gratuitously, even at long odds? Why should anyone credit pandemic minimization now? Why do you continue to minimize this pandemic?

                  Permit me to answer my own question, because I think the answers are self-evident to anyone who follows typical VC debates. You and others of your ilk do it first because you are all trying to leverage that happenstance advantage I mentioned. That is pretty ugly, but leave it aside, because it is not your most salient point. Mostly, you do it because you are temperamentally opposed, and ideologically opposed, to government action as a solution for societal problems. For you, successful and beneficial government policy—policy which succeeds and becomes popular—is a kind of ideological catastrophe. So you advocate to prevent that. However tortured the reasoning, you see prevention of government success as vindication of your preferred ideology.

                  I hesitate to suggest you are willing to see tens of millions of people die needlessly, rather than concede the illegitimacy of that argument. I doubt you have thought your argument through to so drastic an occurrence. Thus, neglect to think it through becomes the one morally saving factor in your advocacy.

                  Again, because I am familiar with VC ideological arguments, I can anticipate what you will say in answer. You will insist that reckoning with open-ended hypothetical threats—however real, however certain given time—is hysteria. And you will deny reality. Because your principles don’t work, those are the alternatives you leave yourself. Prove me wrong.

                  1. A great many words to say that you, personally, are a coward and demand that the government force everyone else to appease your fears at gunpoint.

                    Hypothetical arguments about super diseases that don’t exist have zero bearing on this reality, which is where the arguments about COVID policies are located.
                    And the results in reality are clear:
                    1) Mask mandates do nothing to restrict the spread of COVID
                    2) Lockdowns as applied do nothing to restrict the spread of COVID

                    When the government implements a restriction on the civil rights of the people, it damn well better be for a good reason. And polices that do nothing other than try to satisfy your cowardice do not and will never have a good reason.

                    1. Toranth, internet charges of cowardice are usually scurrilous, like yours is.

                      What’s your real name?

                    2. Relevance, please? My courage, or lack of it, has nothing to do with your actions and irrational demands that others cave to your imaginary fears.

                      But since you raise the topic: I use an alias to hide my real name. I do not put my real name out there, and then demand that the government force other people not to use it.

                      You are so afraid of getting COVID that rather than take precautions for yourself, you demand the government use force to make other people perform non-scientific rituals in order to make you feel better.

                      I will freely admit that I am afraid of the various people on the internet that misuse personal information. That starts at the impersonators and cyber thieves, proceeds through script-kiddie gamers, and recently has come to include political hate-mobs.
                      So, to protect myself, I avoid things that increase my risk of harassment or loss – like putting my real name online. This is a rational act. If you want to call that cowardice, go ahead! I will laugh heartily at you, and point out how your positions make me look like the bravest of them all.

              4. The conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense.

                Dumb mass hysteria is Pandora’s Box out of which masks, and double masks, and face shields and ass masks flew.

      3. So if a two-year-old refuses to wear a mask, WHAT ARE THE PARENTS SUPPOSED TO DO? Go on, tell us. What do you expect them to do? How are they being “defiant fools”? You cannot make a two-year-old do anything it doesn’t want to do. It cannot be done. You can put the mask on by force, but you can’t stop the kid taking it off again without forcibly restraining it for the duration of the trip, which would get you legitimately arrested for child abuse. You would also have the kid legitimately throw a tantrum, which would seriously affect all the other passengers, much more than the entirely mythical risk from its exhalations.

        1. Bring a giant lollipop so the kid can be “eating” the entire flight.

        2. Why are people undertaking long distance travel with two year olds under current current circumstances anyway?

          1. In other words: everyone who would ever make a choice different than the great David Nieporent is suspect of being a lesser person with either evil or stupid or otherwise bad motives.

            1. Those are indeed other words.

          2. Because it’s a completely normal thing to do. Let’s say they’re going for a much needed family vacation. What’s it to you, or the feds? Where do either of you get off telling them that they can’t do that, just because they have a two-year-old?

            1. Because it’s a completely normal thing to do.

              Not during a pandemic. It’s a completely irresponsible thing to do.

              1. No one asked you, and no one needs to clear their actions with you. We don’t care what your opinion is. Free people act as they choose, regardless.

                1. Good job demonstrating how collective action problems are a thing that exists, and part of why we need government.

                2. Free people act as they choose, regardless.

                  Nope. Sovereigns act as they choose, at pleasure. Subjects, such as ourselves, act responsibly, and may be held accountable for their responsibilities.

                  The good news for you Ben_, such as it is, is the news of how American government works. It is founded on popular sovereignty. That gives citizens a dual role. They are jointly sovereign, but individually subjects. You do partake in that joint sovereignty—but only when you act collectively, with everyone else.

                  Your child-like mistake is to suppose that everything you do, you do with everyone else. Were that so, you might thus achieve a universal sovereignty, and freedom to act at pleasure on all you do. But it is not so.

                  The bad news for you is that when you decide privately, to act privately, you do so as a subject, not as a sovereign. You can be held accountable for responsibilities, even for responsibilities you did not decide to take on, and never wanted. That is what being a subject means.

                  I hope this news is not too shocking to you. I sense that it may be coming to you later in life than it does for most people.

                3. “Free people act as they choose, regardless.”

                  Regardless, eh?

                  Ben, do you even *think* before you type? Or is it the case that you really believe this?

                  1. On the bright side, this puts you at one with the brattier two-year-olds. Except that *you* don’t have the excuse of being only two years old.

      4. See, this is what I’m talking about: You equate, “I think it’s a good idea.” with, “I have the right to do it.”; That’s the reasoning of every despot. That’s the outrage I’m talking about.

        It doesn’t MATTER that you think this is a good policy. It’s a policy the federal government was never given the power to impose. Once you decide that doesn’t matter, you’ve rejected any claim to be exercising rightful authority.

        1. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” by C.S. Lewis

          1. This is true here, but also applies to those upset the government can no longer outlaw men puting their seed in other men’s tuchi, which has made an appearance.

            1. I don’t think the government should outlaw men doing that. But they shouldn’t be celebrated, and anyone who wants to not associate with such a “man” should have the right to do so.

              1. Then lets talk about your positions on voting rights and the utility of a bloody civil war. The irony of you invoking that quote is quite high.

      5. “Insistence that personal liberty trumps right to life is an outrage.”

        umm, abortion. Bueller?

  11. As usual liberals do the hard work of what must be done and conservatives sit back and take pot shots without offering anything constructive.

    1. So long as they comply, let them whimper.

    2. As usual liberals do the hard work of what must be done

      Yeah, that whole rule by fiat thing is backbreaking, isn’t it? Poor darlings.

      1. Yes, isn’t it terrible when the President has no respect for federalism or for checks and balances? https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/insight-president-trumps-misunderstanding-of-federalism

        1. Hooray — whataboutery is now cool again! That was a long 4 years.

          1. I’m all for checks & balances and federalism, and I wish the US had a sensible system for both. But given that people like you only care about either when your party doesn’t control the White House, I don’t imagine it will happen anytime soon.

    3. I have to agree with you here. People whining that is hard to make 2,3, and 4 year olds obey are just useless. Discipline is the core of good parenting.

      Now I’m not advocating beating a toddler of course, but zip ties to restrain their hands and simple black hood over their face for the duration of the flight and while they are in the airport seems adequate. And no I’m not equating transporting toddlers to transporting terrorists, their feet would still be free to entertain themselves with the back of the seat of the passenger ahead of them.

      1. And your suggestion as to how to improve this regulation is — ?

        1. Merely say that parents should attempt keep children under 10 masked.

          Are you going to keep them masked up forever? The vaccine isn’t even approved for under 16 years old.

    4. Here’s something constructive: re-open the economy – NPI’s make zip, zero, zilch difference, but lockdowns *will* kill fall more than C19 ever will.

      1. I assume that’s “Dr.” Variant?

    5. It’s ironic you complain of that, given this is just another flip flop of sides. We sit here on one solid year of the left’s pot shots on Trump, and how many needlessly dies, and this is one of the great measures to address it?

      This is your bed. Enjoy.

      1. A non coherent response.

    6. Being a dictator is so hard.

  12. The hard work of doing whatever you want, where the only grant of authority you need is agreeing with yourselves that what you want is a good idea.

    Here’s a constructive suggestion: Try not acting like dictators, and start asking if you’re legally entitled to do things before going ahead and doing them.

    1. And ducking responsibility when they frequently do harm. And treating people who aren’t like them as disposable. And making up new stories all the time to justify even more punitive rules to burden innocents.

      Trying to be every American adult’s psycho-Karen-mom is probably pretty exhausting for them though.

    2. Brett, we’re in a republic. You just lost an election.

      That’s not a dictatorship. Being in the minority sucks; that does not mean you are entitled to act like you’re in the majority.

      If you want to argue about the regulatory power of the CDC, go ahead. But, tellingly, what’s going on is substanceless caterwauling about tyranny and dictatorship instead.
      That’s as bad as those who just called Trump a Hitler whenever he did something they disagreed with and didn’t explain further.

      1. Yeah, and it only took the importation of 100 million third worlders, plus rule changes to allow vote harvesting of 85 IQ blacks, to win!

      2. Losing an election isn’t the same as the Constitution being amended.

        We ARE arguing about the regulatory power of the CDC, if you hadn’t noticed. If my state government ordered me to wear a mask while riding a bus from one side of the city to the other, (Spoiler: They did,) they’ve got that authority. We might debate whether it’s a good idea, but even if it’s a bad idea, it’s a lawful bad idea, so your comment about elections would have teeth.

        If the CDC issues that same order, we never even reach the question of whether it’s a good idea, because nothing gives them the authority to issue it.

        The reason we used to be able to laugh off losing an election, is that it wasn’t for all the marbles. Life would go on pretty much the same, because there were constitutional limits to what a narrow House majority and a VP breaking ties in the Senate would let you do. And if you wanted to go beyond them you needed super majority votes, and amendments drafted, and states ratifying them.

        But now it seems all that goes away if you say it’s an ’emergency’. Election laws become suggestions. Two blocks in a bus becomes a federal matter.

        Well, if elections are for all the marbles now, expect people to treat them that way.

        1. Yes. And I say this as someone who has been wearing a mask since March, way before it was popular or mandated.

          1. Likewise, for all the good it did me. Maybe my case is mild because it reduced the viral load I was subjected to? It’s possible.

            “Good idea” and “lawful” are one thing in their heads. They can’t grasp the idea that a policy they approve of could be unconstitutional, or that someone could complain of a policy being unconstitutional without thinking it a bad idea.

            And that the same policy might be constitutional at a state level, but outside the lawful authority of the federal government makes no sense to them at all, though it’s fundamental to the design of our federalist system.

            1. Yes. Just like “universal background checks.” I’m okay with the idea mandated by states if private sellers have free access to NICS from a phone or app. But Congress has no constitutional authority to mandate it, under any circumstances.

        2. You have the right to your own idiosyncratic understanding of the Constitution. But once you declare that then the organs of government don’t agree with you, it means the government is a tyranny, then you’re just barking at the moon.

          Elections still aren’t for all the marbles. The right’s just propagandized it’s voters that every election is a crisis. It’s worked for a bit, but at some point that bill is going to come due, either in broken brained paranoiacs or a collapse of faith in the right-wing media’s continued melodrama when your guns continue to not be taken away.

          1. Elections are for all the marbles if all the limits the Constitution places on governing majorities can be casually dismissed as somebody’s idiosyncratic understanding of the Constitution.

            When you’re asserting that the CDC can tell you what to do while standing at a bus stop for a local commuter, we’re well into all the marbles territory.

            1. Disagreeing with you is not dismissing all Constitutional limits!

              1. No, but you’re going to continue your practices of dismissing all Constitutional limits that happen to get in your way.

                The ones that aren’t presently an obstacle to anything you want to do can continue to stand, at least until that changes.

                1. No, that’s just your view again.

                  The policies Dems push are ones chosen as within our Constitutional understanding, just not as within yours. Notice how Dems are not arguing UBI is constitutionally mandated, or that the Senate isn’t anti-democratic, or that the EC is not a thing that exists?

                  On the other hand, the recent conservative originalist discoveries about impeachment, Presidential immunity, emoluments, and free exercise sure do seem both new and convenient.

          2. “The right’s just propagandized it’s voters that every election is a crisis.”

            Glad the left would never hype things like that!

            1. They’re not Doug great but well below the right wing curve on this one.

              1. My friends on the right always think the left is worse, and my friends on the left always think the right is worse. I mean, the correlation is 1.0! Both sides are full of examples proving their point. Needless to say, I find this highly persuasive.

                1. Yeah, and I think bothsides cynics are worse than both of them – trading an actual ideology for self-validating of how above the fray and superior you are.

                  The right’s the one with the Flight 93 election thing going on at the moment; there is no symmetry here. Maybe one day the left will switch places with them, but that is where we are.

                  1. Heh. So I agree with my lefty friends half the time, and righty friends half the time, so I’m worse than *either*. Because it’s not the policies that matter, it’s choosing a side and blindly sticking to it. Either side, doesn’t matter which!

                    1. No – nonpartisanship is great.

                      But then saying ‘Both sides are bad, and only I am unattached enough to be good’ is self-aggrandizing BS.

                      1) There are absolutely asymmetries between the two parties.
                      2) There’s plenty of disagreement within both parties; neither are monoliths.

                    2. “But then saying ‘Both sides are bad, and only I am unattached enough to be good’”

                      With all due respect, you are reading something I didn’t say.

                      My point is a simple statement of fact – my friends on the edges passionately assert ‘there is no symmetry here’; the other side is wrong!, while generally agreeing in toto with the entirety of their tribe’s positions.

                      My friends in the middle seem to see a lot of gray, and in general don’t hold a homogeneous basket of opinions, and can offer arguments in favor of the particular policies they prefer.
                      The people on the edges seem to spend less time pondering the optimal policies for Issue X, and more time thinking what bad people the other side are. Your basket of friends may be different than mine so YMMV, of course!

                    3. The original assertion I made was “The right’s just propagandized it’s voters that every election is a crisis.”

                      You disagreed, and your argument was ‘this has a symmetry on the left.’

                      1) That’s a deflection.
                      2) You did not support your symmetry. Form my support, I point you to the comment I was responding to, the article I cited, and the responses to my comment.

                      There are some symmetries between the parties, but to default to their existing is facile.

                    4. “You disagreed”

                      The heck :-). I completely agree with ‘The right’s just propagandized it’s voters that every election is a crisis’. I know that is true, I get the mail from the NRA, etc, etc, etc (and hear it from my righty friends).

                      I also get the mail from the Sierra Club, etc, etc, etc that is the exact mirror image – screeds that if the Repubs win the next election then the sky is falling (and of course, I hear it from my lefty friends).

                    5. Now we’re talking, with a substantive argument for the symmetry, not just invoking as a trope.
                      I would argue that fundraising e-mails aren’t the best barometer; they’ve been overdramatic since I was in grad school and started giving to charities.

                      Not that it’s great, but it doesn’t seem to be driving the narrative, so much as reflecting it.

                      Where I’d argue the asymmetry is occurring in the party leaders, and party-affiliated media organs, and can be seen in the party faithful. See the comments here, the Flight 93 Election article, and the like.

                      Part of this is dialectic – there’s more of a market for political apocalypsing on the right, it seems. The left’s been beating the climate apocalypse drum for quite some time, but you don’t see a lot of nihilism on their side.
                      On the other hand, the right is full of people who are willing to lie or wreck Democracy in order to save America, which is hanging on by a thread thanks to those Dems.

                    6. FWIW, I guffawed over your last sentence. It’s the spitting mirror image of what righty partisans say.

                      People repeating ‘Us good! Them Bad!’ over and over just isn’t persuasive, even when they believe it with all their heart.

                      But it is what it is; religious people believe what they do.

                      I hope you get to enjoy your snow some, instead of it being only a hassle.

                    7. I’ve provided evidence beyond just anecdotes here. That you keep leaning on reflexive invocations of symmetry is sad.

                      I’m not just saying ‘My side good!’ I like the left more than the right, but they have their issues – passionate and dumb nomenclature games, speech on campuses, and gun confiscation come to mind.

                      I’m saying in this area the right is worse than the left, and I support my argument.

                      Being nonpartisan is cool. Being reflexively bothsidesist is lame. In all of history, only Mercutio pulled it off and managed to be cool.

            2. See: Flight 93 Election. That’s going to be every election from now on.

              1. Yup. Because the Constitution’s limits on federal power are largely dead at this point, every election is now for all the marbles. Your livelihood, and every liberty you treasure, be it ever so clearly enumerated, is but one lost election away from erasure at the hands of maniacs who think “I think it’s a good idea.” makes anything they want to do constitutional.

                And then get mad when the other side doesn’t ask how high when ordered to jump.

                1. But they’ll pretend to care about constitutional limits sometimes when they can use it as a partisan attack. “Don’t you care about constitutional limits?” they will ask, applying Alinsky rule #4 to a story they just made up about what might happen. Hopefully everyone is completely done treating that question seriously.

                  1. No one here is saying Constitutional limits don’t matter. We’re saying argue about the limit, don’t declare all who disagree with you are illegitimate, the republic is dead, and we need to vote against Democrats regardless if the GOP candidate is zombie Stalin.

                    1. I remember when we used to have meaningful elections sometimes, before phony absentee ballots in a few specific cities run by Democrats made elections just another hollowed out lie like everything else Democrats touch.

                    2. Thanks for the object lesson on why the right is uniquely screwed up right now.

                2. Here’s how you can tell this is nonsense, Brett. The Constitution y’all claim is the One True Constitution in Exile, in as much as it ever existed, is a jurisprudence from over half a century ago.
                  And yet this supposed ‘every election is an existential crisis’ is new.

                  It’s not correlated with Democratic actions, but rather the rise of the right wing blogosphere.

                  1. That’s just stupid, of course. The “existential crisis” has been getting slowly worse for a long time. It’s not a switch that turns on and off.

      3. I don’t need to be in the majority to exercise my constitutional rights and refuse to obey illegal orders. Now the airlines probably do have the right to require masks. But in my state I can go into a restaurant and sit and eat and drink at a table or bar without a mask, and Joe Biden does not have legal authority to tell me or the other patrons we can’t.

        1. An unjust law may be no law at all but you still go to jail for it. That’s how civil disobedience works.

          Luckily for you a fictionally unjust law is legit something you can ignore, since what you describe is not mentioned in the OP.

  13. First, wear a mask. Over 20,000 Americans died from it last week, and the same will happen this week.

    Second, the drafters should be citing to Section 361 of the Act, as opposed to the Code, as this is an unenacted Title. Perhaps they wanted to avoid the caption.

    Third, the law is a quarantine and inspection law, so risks incurred in the act of travelling are a bit to the side of the central purpose. (Which is not to say that they’re outside of it.) Where this is weakest, and I don’t understand why they put this in, since it gives a clear foothold to the obvious challenge, is that vessels departing the US must maintain their mask requirement until reaching their destination. Questions of third-country airspace aside, the theory is that as part of accepting the captain’s guarantee that there’s no plague aboard (controlled free practique, apparently traditionally signalled by a square yellow flag) the vessel is required to commit to safe protocols for the duration of the journey. Now someone accepting another’s guarantee of something can certainly impose any conditions they want, but this cuts to the core of the obvious challenge: that they’re using a quarantine and inspection law to mandate operating protocols.

    Again, wear a mask. But hard times are no excuse for lack of clarity in the laws.

    Top of the head, likely wrong, not advice, don’t rely.

    Mr. D.

    1. “First, wear a mask. Over 20,000 Americans died from it last week, and the same will happen this week.”

      +1

      To the people who don’t think cloth masks work, the supply of ‘real’ masks has unwedged. Amazon is selling KN95 masks in a brand approved by the FDA for medical use for $1.20 each. Industrial supply places now have N95 and N100’s available … I just replenished our almost gone supply of N100’s with 3M ones, made in USA.

      1. Please point me to a randomly controlled trial showing that masks, as they’re actually worn by real people, make a statistically significant difference in spread. Go back as far as you like.

        1. Variant, those kinds of random controls would be unethical. Maybe you knew that.

          Instead, take a look at the map. Today, the NYT published a list of the 100 hardest hit counties, nationwide. How many of those do you suppose were Trump counties—you know, the kind of places where folks make it a point of pride not to wear masks? If there is even one exception, I can’t find it by looking down the list. With few exceptions, they are counties in the South. The pattern is overwhelming.

          Now compare another county—not taken at random—Middlesex County, MA. Very blue, politically, of course. It has 3 major cities, all about the same size. They run the gamut. Cambridge, MA—wealthy, Harvard, MIT, privileged. Sommerville, MA—severely crowded, stuffed full of low-paid service workers, very diverse, but still some privileged people too. Lowell, MA—high crime, service-industry oriented, crowded, poor.

          What Middlesex County residents share alike is very high mask discipline. And especially in Harvard and Sommerville, some of the highest testing rates in the nation. Still, Middlesex has been hard hit, both in the first round last spring, and again now.

          Middlesex County’s case rate, as reported by the NYT today, was 38 cases per 100,000. The very best county on that other list, with all the Trump counties, had 90 cases per 100,000.

          Comparisons like that are easy to come by. Of course exceptions can be found, too, if all you look at is politics. But I think it will be very hard to find exceptions where good mask discipline coupled with high testing rates doesn’t deliver notably better case rates than you find in places which reject masks.

          1. kansas University Center for Policy ran a study for mask v non mask mandate Kansas counties

            the delta in infection rate over the period July 1 through Oct 23 was only 11%,

            The data for the non mask counties had several anomalies which skewed the results dramatically. during the period of Sept & Oct, the delta was as high as 40%, though the delta dropped back to 15%-16% range. KU center for policy & social has not updated their study. Nor did they respond to my email asking if they were going to update the study or address any data issues and misrepresentations in the published results.

            From What I have found the KU study is best study available on comparisons with masking v non masking, Even with the errors, the delta is very low.

            1. I think that’s an interesting example of how people are talking about two different issues.

              When I say ‘masks work’, that’s shorthand for ‘properly used, suitable masks can lower the chance of an individual becoming infected, or infecting others’. And I think the data for that is pretty strong … you don’t see the docs and nurses go into the covid ward unmasked.

              Comparing counties who do/don’t have a mask mandate is looking at a different set of issues – how many people comply, how many people wear them under their nose, how many people wear a mask but don’t wash their hands, etc, etc, etc.

              Anecdote: last April or so I had to go to a place for a blood draw. They advised me a mask was required, to text them from the parking lot and they would meet me at the door and so on. So the tech escorts me to the 10×10 ft room, sets me in a chair on one side, goes back to his computer 10 ft away, takes off his mask, and starts typing. He was having some kind of computer troubles – I was in there 45 minutes, and he was unmasked 98% of the time. He’d pull his mask on, come over and fiddle with me for a moment, then back to the computer and mask off. I asked, and his answer was that policy required he be masked whenever he was within 6 ft of a patient. The rest of the time in the 10×10 room … no mask. So that place had a mask mandate … that was patently useless. All the air in that room had been through his lungs several times already.

              So, ‘masks work’ and ‘masks don’t work’ are both true, depending on a lot of details. I think it’s a fair criticism of a lot of places that the politicians have done too much mandating and not enough persuading.

              1. you raise some valid points – both sides, the maskers and the anti maskers dont seem to demonstrate any knowledge on the how and why various mitigation protocols reduce the risk of transmission.
                The primary mitigation protocol to reduce the risk of transmission is distancing. The second most effective mitigation protocol is reducing the time of interaction with other individuals. Masking is at best the third most effective.

                An important measurement of the effectiveness of the mask is the incremental reduction of risk of transmission, and not the absolute reduction.

                In the typical grocery store, the mask generally will not reduce risk by any significant factor, since most people are maintaining distancing, and time of interaction with other individuals is very short. So yes the mask works, but the incremental reduction is very small.

                On the other hand your interaction you described above, wearing the mask for the 15 minutes up to 30-40 minutes in the medical office would have significant reduction in the risk.

                however, once the time starts to exceed, 30 or so minutes in a confined space, (medical office, business office environment, etc), the mask loses its effectiveness. As the anti maskers have pointed out, there is significant side venting of gases, so even if the mask catches 50% of the covid viruses, the 50% or so of the unfiltered viruses have entered the air to circulate.

                In sum, you cant judge the effectiveness of masks in isolation, without taking into account other factors.

                On a 2-3 hour plane flight, (which includes boarding time and deplaning time), t

              2. “however, once the time starts to exceed, 30 or so minutes in a confined space, (medical office, business office environment, etc), the mask loses its effectiveness”

                Can you elaborate? I was wearing an N100. OSHA, for example, lets you wear those for an 8 hour shift. Nurses and doctors are spending a lot longer than 30 min in covid wards using N95’s.

                1. My reference was to the typical office building, grocery store, public transportation, airline, etc where virtually no one is wearing an N95 mask.

                  With an N95 mask, most likely you are getting less than 2-3% covid leakage, so it takes a considerable length of time before the air becomes saturated with any exhaled virus. With the typical cloth mask, the leakage is likely 50% + . With the typical mask, any benefit in the reduction risk of transmission, gets reduced substantially after 30-40 minutes. S

                  1. If there is a perfect air-tight seal of the mask to the face (something that never happens) the typical 2-4 layer cloth mask will block less than 5% of virus bearing droplets.
                    For every 1% of the mask’s border that is not air-tight, the effective drops by around 60%.

                    And while properly worn masks have begun to lose effectiveness at 30 minutes or so, they do not instantly become ineffective. A properly worn appropriate N95 mask will provide useful protection for something like 4 to 8 hours, depending on the environment and activities performed by the user. More moisture or heavier breathing = faster decay.

                    Personally, I feel that charging people $2 per 4 hours to breathe in public is excessive and oppressive, especially when the government is shutting down the sources of income for people (the poor are particularly impacted).

                    1. Toranth, lockdowns used extremely aggressively are by far the most effective economic polices for countering the pandemic. If you want better economic results, you should back comprehensive lockdowns in response to even single-digit case numbers. See today’s NYT article on lockdowns in Australia.

        2. “Please point me to a randomly controlled trial showing that masks, as they’re actually worn by real people, make a statistically significant difference in spread.”

          I’m not sure what you mean by ‘real people’. If the question is ‘does wearing an N95 on a subway make a difference if right after you get home, before washing your hands, you remove the mask and vigorously pick your nose’, then, no, an N95 won’t stop infecting yourself via that path.

          OTOH, nurses and doctors have been using them while working in covid wards for months now without getting sick. The people saying ‘but viral particles are smaller than the openings in the mask’ don’t understand how the filtering works; it’s not a window screen and mosquito kind of thing.

          And for the ‘masks only work if you have been professionally trained’ crowd, a personal observation: I have used N95 and N100 masks for decades now when A)welding, B)sanding drywall and C)recently outdoors when the wildfire smoke was bad. And my personal observation is that without a mask, at the end of the day my snot is A)black, B)gray, and C)black. With an N95/100 … no nasal symptoms at all. Occam’s razor suggests that the masks are in fact substantially filtering out particulates. I understand that your googling suggests that masks can’t work, but my lying eyes disagree.

        3. Please point me to a randomly controlled trial showing that masks, as they’re actually worn by real people, make a statistically significant difference in spread. Go back as far as you like.

          Do you know that there are no randomized controlled trials showing that parachutes save the lives of people falling out of airplanes?

      2. I wore the damned mask, to the point that my wife, a medical professional, would make fun of me. I wore it everywhere I was supposed to, and often where it was optional. I wore it when that asshole Fauci was telling me not to, because I can recognize a political lie when I hear one.

        I’m typing this in bed with Covid. (Mild case, don’t worry.) If they work at all, it isn’t very well.

        And when I get out of this quarantine, those morons are going to demand I continue wearing one even though I’ll be immune???

        They’re not even trying to pretend these policies make sense anymore, are they? What better way to motivate people to take the vaccine than to exempt them from the mask mandates if they do?

        1. Same here. I had an asymptomatic case in June that I only found out about because I had to get tested for my job.

          Realized Fauci and Jerome Adams were lying back in March too.

        2. Glad to hear your case is mild, Brett. IANAD but the following occur to me as not-obviously-crazy reasons why people might think it wise to mandate mask-wearing for COVID recoverees: symptomatic reinfection, variants, liars.

          A fourth potential reason is one I’d appreciate comments on from anyone in the crowd w/ relevant expertise: Asymptomatic reinfection transmission. My (possibly flawed) mental model is that all but total-lockdown folks are taking in viral loads of various sizes all the time, and that recent recoverees and those who have been inoculated have immune systems primed to respond quickly enough to almost always squash the bad guys before they’ve multiplied to dangerous levels, but *not necessarily* before the now-multiplied bad guys are capable of jumping ship in respectable numbers and infecting others. The fact that asymptomatic transmission is a thing suggests to me that asymptomatic-reinfection transmission may also be a thing, but perhaps I am off base on this.

          1. arch1, a fifth reason is that it is not possible for bystanders to know the immune status of anyone around them. Permit allegedly immune folks—and all the cheaters who will falsely claim to be immune—as entitled to go maskless, and social consensus on wearing masks will evaporate. Many more people make decisions on the basis of social expectations than rely on epidemiology. Show most folks too many maskless faces, and they will conclude it’s the all-clear signal, and join in.

            A point becoming increasingly clear as worldwide experience grows (see today’s NYT, on Australia) is that masking and lockdowns work best—and deliver the most benefit, including economic benefit—when used aggressively among populations at the lowest levels of infection prevalence. If you can do it, you want universal masking and draconian lockdowns wherever you can use them to isolate and eradicate even single-digit case levels. That is where the leverage is greatest, and where society gets the most benefit for the least disruption.

            By contrast, in the U.S. we now see a society flooded with virus, but where every decrement of virus measured is immediately interpreted by politicians as political capital they can invest in easing restrictions. It is a catastrophic policy, fueled mainly by fear of virus minimizers and violent responses. That policy is tanking the economy and holding it under until it drowns.

            1. Good points all Stephen, thanks. Re: your last paragraph –
              yes, this pandemic among other things severely punishes groups with significant numbers of self-styled individualist/rebels who won’t dial it back when needed to help others (arguably the two-year-old problem writ large). The U.S., alas, is one such group.

    2. Weird that you think you have to invoke loyalty oaths before making a technical point about laws.

    3. Yeah, well I think you are following the curve, not out ahead of it.

      Since Jan 12, the 7 day moving avg of new COVID cases is down 39%, from 254k to 155k. The interesting thing is California which had the some of the strictest mask and gathering restrictions, and had one the worst spikes is now having the steepest drop, its 7day moving average is down an amazing 53% since Jan 14, without tightening, restrictions and they’ve actually started loosening them.

      The real reason for the spike wasn’t lack of masks in public, or people going out to bars and restaurants, but was actually because every thing was closed so they were driven by desperation to spending time enclosed in private residences with their families over the holidays. I am scared to think of what suicide rates for the holiday period will look like when they are compiled.

      1. Most of the suicide will be counted as deaths from Covid.

    4. An example:

      A flight to Russia (it’s a 10 hour flight) on a Non-US owned carrier such as Aeroflot. I’d be inclined to say that they’d only enforce US law while over US territory. Once outside of US territory they’ll enforce Russian law because that’s where you’re landing and being that most if not all of the workers on the plane are Russian that’s what they’ll default to.

      And without some US law enforcement agent ON the plane, there’s no legal authority to arrest someone who disregards US law once the plane is outside of US territory (and honestly even probably within US territory in flight).

      The flight can ground prior to leaving US territory to enact an arrest.

      What the feds ‘can’ do is revoke the ability of that carrier to fly to US cities. But they still can’t require that flights leaving the US follow US law.

  14. This isn’t Prof. Blackman’s customary advocacy for backwardness, intolerance, and superstition against progress, inclusiveness, and reason — this one is for the children!

    Carry on, clingers . . . so long as you continue to toe the line established by your betters, you get to whine and bluster as much as you wish!

  15. Neither Josh nor any of the many commenters criticizing this regulation had anything constructive to contribute.

  16. I think Josh gets this wrong:

    Indeed, the definition of “interstate travel” includes intrastate travel:

    Interstate traffic shall have the same definition as under 42 CFR 70.1, meaning

    “(1): (i) The movement of any conveyance or the transportation of persons or property, including any portion of such movement or transportation that is entirely within a state or possession—
    (ii) From a point of origin in any state or possession to a point of destination in any other state or possession; or

    (iii) Between a point of origin and a point of destination in the same state or possession but through any other state, possession, or contiguous foreign country.

    Note that ii or iii has to be true to trigger i. All that means is if you are going from Wisconsin to Illinois, you can’t claim that your trip from Green Bay to 1 foot north of the Illinois border is intrastate and you only have to mask up as you cross the border.

  17. Some challenges at the edges might succeed. Purely intrastate commerce, especially in private vehecles, might be outside jurisdictional scope. They might have gotten the age floor a bit too low to be practical.

    But I suspect the large majority will withstand challenge.

    1. And I suspect the age floor is a political matter to be corrected by subsequent order or by statute rather than one judges have authority to correct.

  18. There’s a reason why Orthodox Jews don’t generally even try to get boys to wear a yarmulke until they’re 3. Sometimes they do, if the kid’s precocious and takes well to it, but as a general rule they start at 3, and even then it takes time until the kid stops removing it at every opportunity.

  19. The jurisdiction is overwhelming, if you follow the Wickard and Raich standard. Cars are made with parts from many states and are already subject to other federal regulations as they frequently travel interstate. Rideshares effect ones ability to conduct business, which may be interstate in nature.

    Bam, I’ve created a better federal nexus than those cases. Of course, when it’s not the government vs. powerless individuals, or a primarily political position, they apply an entirely different and more rational analysis of ‘interstate commerce’. So all we know, is they’ll pick a position, then work backwards to explain how they’ll be interpreting the Commerce Clause today, since once you uphold fantastic farces like those cases, there’s just no limit.

  20. It is reasonable to conclude we are looking at four epidemics at once:
    Wuhan variety of CoV2 –
    UK Variant
    South African Variant
    Brazil Variant.
    Masks are not perfect and an order from a President to wear them while on intrastate vehicles may not be constitutional, but we are in desperate shape now – the vaccines will not save us, and we are looking at several times the death rates we saw this past year.

  21. What about people with dementia? Ever try to explain to someone with Alzheimer’s disease why they must wear a mask and then try to force one to keep a mask on? Often their level of understanding is less than that of a 2 year old.

Please to post comments