Should COVID Protocols Continue Indefinitely? Passenger Discovered with Monkeypox.
Travel is picking up again, and the aviation industry is regaining jobs lost to the global pandemic. Many pilots and airline workers are also thrilled to see the relaxing and repeal of COVID protocols, such as mandatory masking.
Coronavirus is still in the news, however, with a new Delta variant, and an ongoing cultural/political polarization over the vaccine. Also, just this month a passenger traveling from Africa was detected with a case of the rare monkeypox.
In our interconnected and international world, the easy transmission of diseases may cause some people to demand the protections and regulations put into place during COVID to remain, possibly indefinitely.
What Is the Monkeypox Case?
A single passenger was identified with monkeypox. This person traveled from Lago, Nigeria, to Atlanta on July 8, and then Atlanta to Dallas on July 9.
Monkeypox received its name after it was first discovered in 1958 in groups of monkeys that were kept as research. Monkeypox was later discovered in humans in 1970 when efforts were being made in the Democratic Republic of Congo to fight against smallpox. The disease has been since reported across central and western Africa.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said it is working with the airline and other officials to contact passengers to let them know of the risk.
What Does the Monkeypox Case Have to Do with COVID Precautions?
Like COVID, monkeypox can be transmitted through respiratory droplets, and the CDC believes that the COVID precautions may have been what saved the patient’s fellow passengers from getting the virus.
Specifically, the masking and other safety measures may have saved us from a minor outbreak.
While not advocating for continued COVID precautions, Dr. Philip Huang, the director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, commented, “This is another demonstration of the importance of maintaining a strong public health infrastructure, as we are only a plane ride away from any global infectious disease.”
Airlines, then, are more likely to spread a viral contagion than other industries. People packed tightly together. Hubs of travels with easy transmission from terminal to terminal, location to location, all across the globe.
With COVID restrictions and a drastic lack of travel, even the common flu hit record lows in 2020. A more rigorous – some would say draconian – safety regime would undoubtedly reduce global illness.
Any attempt to continue the COVID restrictions, such as masking or forced distancing, after mass vaccination or herd immunity will face a huge fight.
Increased rules cause major inconvenience and are seen as infringing upon the most fundamental freedom – one’s own body.
While masks could be seen as a simple dress rule – nobody can fly naked after all – there are already protests about this policy. And that’s before any further push has been made to make masking permanent.
The perpetual balance in society is safety versus freedom. We’ll have to see how diseases, such as monkeypox, may sway public opinion in the future.