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Vaccination Nation: Masks off, BA.2 on

The two-year mask mandate has been lifted at airports and many other transportation companies are following suit.
The two-year mask mandate has been lifted at airports and many other transportation companies are following suit.

Airports and planes went maskless for the first time in two years the same day that Philadelphia reinstated its indoor mask mandate

A federal judge in Florida struck down a request to extend the deadline for the mandate by two weeks, calling it “unlawful.” And flight crews didn’t wait long to tell people the news. Now,Amtrak, Uber, and other modes of public transportation are quickly following suit and loosening their mask requirements.

All of this is happening as more than 30 states report a rise in cases. The Centers for Disease and Control estimates that the omicron subvariant, BA.2, makes up 86 percent of all U.S. COVID cases. But some public health officials say the caseload doesn’t tell the whole story.   

During the omicron surge, people increasingly used at-home tests, meaning a lot of positive results weren’t reported. Since then, some states have closed down massive testing sites and cut down on reporting daily infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. 

So how prepared is the U.S. for another potential wave? And how should we navigate a new maskless world of transportation?

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