Apr 19, 2022 - Health

America's new mask divide

A mix of masked and unmasked people wait in a security line at Miami International Airport.
A mix of masked and unmasked people wait in a security line at Miami International Airport. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

America has a new divide.

Driving the news: Many joyfully embraced Tuesday as the first full day of new mask freedom. But plenty are sticking with a practice that's now 2+ years old.

State of play: Airlines and many airports dropped their mask rules, AP reports.

  • Many big cities kept mask requirements on mass transit, including New York, Chicago and L.A. Others ditched the rules, such as D.C., Atlanta and Kansas City.
  • Amtrak and Uber dropped their rules. Uber said passengers can return to the front seat.

Many parents fear for their kids who are too young for vaccines.

  • "Here we are, trapped in the sky with our 8-month-old unmasked baby," tweeted Brooke Tansley of Nashville, who was on a plane when the rules changed mid-flight.

Between the lines: "For many flight attendants, the lifting of the mandate brought relief," The New York Times reports. "Flight crews have faced a surge in threats and violence ... over the past two years."

The bottom line: President Biden said that it's "up to them" for people to decide whether to wear masks.

Reality check: Maybe don’t throw away those masks. America entered last summer with similar hope and optimism — which was then dashed by the Delta variant.

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