Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) is calling for COVID-19 vaccine mandates for air travel, insisting it is “unsafe” for unvaccinated individuals to fly.
In a tweet Sunday night, Swalwell wrote, “On a flight now to Bay Area and it is one-hundred percent batty that the unvaccinated are allowed to fly.”
“It’s unsafe in the cabin, and we are transporting the virus. Requiring the vaccine to fly is the LEAST we can do to stop the spread,” he added.
On a flight now to Bay Area and it is one-hundred percent batty that the unvaccinated are allowed to fly. It’s unsafe in the cabin and we are transporting the virus. Requiring the vaccine to fly is the LEAST we can do to stop the spread.
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) December 20, 2021
His comments come amid growing concerns about the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The new variant prompted the Netherlands to impose a new lockdown which will close all nonessential stores such as bars and restaurants until mid-January. Additionally, the United Kingdom is reportedly considering new restrictions.
Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security in Baltimore, told NBC News, “Transmission on a plane of COVID-19 is not very common because of the (air) circulation and because of the mask wearing.”
“(But) there’s always going to be some level of COVID risk with any activity you do, whether it’s flying, riding the bus or going to the post office… for most people, I think it’s an acceptable risk,” Adalja added.
A study conducted by United Airlines and the Defense Department found that there was a low risk of contracting the virus on a commercial flight when passengers wore masks for the duration of the flight.
However, a study published in the Journal of Travel Medicine in May 2021 found that on flights where passengers took their masks off at the same time for a one-hour meal service, the chance of contracting the virus increased by 59%.
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