On Monday, Anthony Fauci said in an interview that he believes the United States should consider the possibility of forcing all Americans to get vaccinated before they fly on any domestic flights, Fox News reports.
Fauci, who serves as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), as well as Chief Medical Adviser to Joe Biden, made the alarming statements in an interview with MSNBC.
“If you want to do that with domestic flights,” Fauci said, “I think that’s something that seriously should be considered.” All major airlines in the United States currently have a mandate in place to wear masks at all times while on planes, as well as in most airports, but have not yet taken the drastic step of mandating vaccinations.
But in recent weeks, even the mask mandate for air travel has come under scrutiny as the pandemic approaches its third year. Gary Kelly, the CEO of Southwest Airlines, testified before the United States Senate on Wednesday that continuing to extend the mask mandate for air travel would be redundant, since “masks don’t add much, if anything” in the fight to stop the spread of germs.
“The statistics I recall is that 99.97% of airborne pathogens are captured by the [air] filtering system,” Kelly explained, “and it’s turned over every two or three minutes…It’s very safe, and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting.”
On Sunday, Fauci openly rejected Kelly’s sentiment in an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” saying that a possible lifting of the mask mandate is something that should not even be considered for the time being.