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COVID-19

Major Airlines, Amtrak end Mask Mandate after FL Judge Ruling

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Southwest Airlines

The Skies just got a little friendlier after a Florida federal Judge overruled the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) transportation mask mandate.

Following the ruling Monday by U.S. district judge Kathryn Mizelle, major airlines and Amtrak announced they were ending the requirement to wear masks while traveling. Mizelle ruled that the CDC mandate violated the Administrative Procedure Act, meaning it failed to justify the reasoning behind the mandate; a procedure federal agencies must adhere to.

Just hours after the ruling, a Biden Administration official told media outlets the mandate “is not in effect at the time.” A cause for celebration, “American, Delta, Southwest, United, and Alaska Airlines all said on Monday night that passengers could fly without masks” reports National Review.

Some pilots even made the announcement about the policy change mid-flight. United Airlines sent out a peppy tweet Monday evening with the announcement. “Masks are no longer required on domestic fights, select international flights (dependent upon the arrival country’s requirements) or at U.S. airports. More comfortable keeping yours on? Go right ahead…the choice is yours (you look Dino-mite either way)!”

Southwest encouraged passengers to make their own decision about whether or not to wear a mask based on what’s best for their “personal wellbeing.” Ten major airline CEOs wrote an open letter to President Biden last month calling on him to end the mask mandate.

“It makes no sense that people are still required to wear masks on airplanes, yet are allowed to congregate in crowded restaurants, schools and at sporting events without masks, despite non of these venues having the protective air filtration system that aircraft do” the letter stated.

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COVID-19

Former Harvard medical professor says he was fired for opposing Covid lockdowns and vaccine mandates

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Covid

“My hope is that someday, Harvard will find its way back to academic freedom and independence.” That is the heartfelt message from Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a former Harvard University professor of medicine since 2003, who recently announced publicly he was fired for “clinging to the truth” in his opposition to Covid lockdowns and vaccine mandates.

Kulldorff posted the news on social media alongside an essay published in the City Journal last week. The epidemiologist and biostatistician also spoke with National Review about the incident. Kulldorff says he was fired by the Harvard-affiliated Mass General Brigham hospital system and put on a leave of absence by Harvard Medical School in November 2021 over his stance on Covid.

Nearly two years later, in October 2023, his leave of absence was terminated as a matter of policy, marking the end of his time at the university. Harvard severed ties with Kulldorff “all on their initiative,” he said.

The history of the medical professional’s public stance on Covid-19 vaccines and mandates is detailed by National Review:

Censorship and rejection led Kulldorff to co-author the Great Barrington Declaration in October 2020 alongside Dr. Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University. Together, the three public-health scientists argued for limited and targeted Covid-19 restrictions that “protect the elderly, while letting children and young adults live close to normal lives,” as Kulldorff put it in his essay.

“The declaration made clear that no scientific consensus existed for school closures and many other lockdown measures. In response, though, the attacks intensified—and even grew slanderous,” he wrote, naming former National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins as the one who ordered a “devastating published takedown” of the declaration.

Testifying before Congress in January, Collins reaffirmed his previous statements attacking the Great Barrington Declaration.

Despite the coordinated effort against it, the document has over 939,000 signatures in favor of age-based focused protection.

The Great Barrington Declaration’s authors, who advocated the quick reopening of schools, have been vindicated by recent studies that confirm pandemic-era school closures were, in fact, detrimental to student learning. The data show that students from third through eighth grade who spent most of the 2020–21 school year in remote learning fell more than half a grade behind in math scores on average, while those who attended school in person dropped a little over a third of a grade, according to a New York Times review of existing studies. In addition to learning losses, school closures did very little to stop the spread of Covid, studies show.

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