The European Union (EU) has announced that it’s scrapping its mask mandate for planes beginning next week as countries remove the remaining restrictions.
“Passengers should, however, behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them,” European Union Aviation Safety Agency executive director Patrick Ky said. “And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”
In a joint statement with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, they added that scrapping the mask mandate is “a big step forward in the normalization of air travel.”
The restrictions are to effect on May 16 with one major caveat: passengers may have to wear masks when using foreign airlines or when flying to authoritarian countries that impose unscientific health orders like Canada.
This news comes after a massive peer-reviewed study covering 35 European countries (602 million people) concluded that wearing COVID masks did not reduce transmission or deaths and may have exasperated the virus was published last month.
In the study published in the journal Cureus, Dr. Beny Spira reviewed every European country with at least 1 million people between October 2020 – March 2021, when “the entire continent was undergoing an outburst of COVID-19.”
Mask mandates and compliance across these countries varied significantly, from 5 per cent to 95 per cent. By comparing each respective country’s infection and death statistics, along with these mask-wearing percentages, Spira drew two conclusions:
“While no cause-effect conclusions could be inferred from this observational analysis, the lack of negative correlations between mask usage and COVID-19 cases and deaths suggest that the widespread use of masks at a time when an effective intervention was most needed, i.e., during the strong 2020-2021 autumn-winter peak, was not able to reduce COVID-19 transmission. Moreover, the moderate positive correlation between mask usage and deaths in Western Europe also suggests that the universal use of masks may have had harmful unintended consequences.” [Emphasis added]