Earlier this week, while preparing to travel cross country on a major US airline, Brandon Straka, the charismatic social media influencer, had a flight attendant ask him before departure to put on a mask or deplane. Mr. Straka refused to put on the facemask.
As happens in this day and age, a passenger recorded the incident. Brandon and the flight attendant are heard off-screen but do not appear on the screen.
The passenger that recorded the incident appears to be a NY Times political reporter and a CNN political analyst, so it promptly went viral.
Many questions have arisen from Mr. Straka’s actions, mostly from left-leaning entities and individuals.
A contested issue is from comments made while on the plane and comments made after he deplaned. Some have been critical of these statements, but it is clear that Mr. Straka was referencing being able to board the plane with no personal health checks freely.
Mr. Straka questioned the regulations on wearing the masks as he believed there is no law, compelling individuals to do so.
Mr. Straka was in the right for several reasons.
First, the individual that captured the event on video is wearing a face mask. It appears this mask may not be surgical-grade in order to provide adequate protection. The mask is ill-fitted to the man’s bearded face. Lastly, as the individual becomes obviously frustrated by the situation, he wipes his face and rubs his eyes with no gloves nor follow on hygienic procedure. By cross-contaminating his face, hands, and the surrounding area, it renders the reason to wear a mask moot.
The main issue deals with the masks themselves. Both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have weak guidelines regarding the true protective nature of the masks.
The FDA describes surgical masks as loose-fitting disposable devices that create a barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer and potential contaminants in the immediate environment.
It further states that surgical masks must meet certifications and regulations to meet the safety requirements. Unless properly labeled packaging is present for inspection, it is hard-pressed to determine if a mask meets the minimum standard of protection and not just a feel-good measure of little consequence.
The FDA website continues, “Surgical masks also do not provide complete protection from germs and other contaminants because of the loose fit between the surface of the mask and your face.” In yet another section comparing non-surgical masks to surgical masks, the description of surgical masks, “They are for use in surgical settings and do not provide full protection from inhalation of airborne pathogens, such as viruses.”
If Mr. Straka had pressed the issue, he could have asked how the airline was disposing of the used masks once they are worn. A process that the FDA recommends masks be placed in plastic bags.
One has to be concerned that due to the high use of masks in our country is whether or not all people know that they need to be using certified surgical masks and not cheaper versions imported from China.
Today @BrandonStraka was kicked off a plane for not wearing a face mask.
Forcing Americans to abide by these ludicrous standards for a virus w/ a 99% survival rate isn’t about your health, It’s about control. @briannalyman2 hits us with The Hard Truth https://t.co/V0VlWu8QpE
— The Hard Truth (@WalkAwayTHT) June 17, 2020
A report from Business Insider earlier this year showed the seizure of a resounding thirty-one million counterfeit masks.
It appears Mr. Straka was in the right to stand up to what seems to be a sensationalized act by the airlines to appease the flying populous.