Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

NESS’S NOTES: COVID-19 is not a welcome passenger on public transit


The Green Line shouldn’t be a green light for COVID-19.

In a haphazard and premature move, airports and other forms of public transportation lifted mask mandates that required face coverings to be worn in shared places, such as planes, trains and subways.

Boston’s hallmark public transit system, the T, followed suit with this.

On April 19, the MBTA effectively removed the mask mandate on the T with a tweet stating, “Effective immediately, wearing a mask on the T is optional except for on The RIDE.”

These decisions were made after a Federal judge in Florida ruled that the CDC does not have the authority to enforce a mask mandate. But city governments do have this authority. In a city like Boston that’s known for healthcare and medical advances, I hoped that leadership and public health awareness here would be stronger.

First, this is the opinion of one judge whose statement will affect millions of Americans. Second, this decision is quite literally a life and death scenario.

What might be a low-risk situation for someone could be a frightening situation for someone else. The number of new COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts has been following an upward trend for the past 30 days. Yet over two years into a pandemic that has resulted in the deaths of nearly 1 million Americans, this health and safety measure is being dropped.

It’s no secret that masks are very effective at significantly lowering the transmission of COVID-19. So why, in a time where second booster shots are just becoming available, are we ditching masks?

I don’t feel comfortable riding in a packed Green Line train that’s inevitably stopped between two stations for who knows how long as it is. But to be in a car where people are practically pressed up against each other without masks on is just plain scary.

What scares me even more is thinking of flying home and back on a plane with who knows how many passengers who decide to not wear masks. One way, it’s a full three hours on the plane.

Airlines boast about having high-efficiency particulate air filters, known as HEPA filters. These air filters capture up to 99.995% of airborne particles and filter them out every few minutes.

Of course, 99.995% is a fantastic number to hear. But, if someone’s unmasked on a plane sitting next to someone who is also unmasked has COVID and they sneeze or cough, those particles can still land on them and infect them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m tired of wearing a mask, as I know so many of us are. But the pandemic is still here, and removing public transit mask mandates is only welcoming it to stay.

Follow Ashley on Twitter!


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About the Contributor
Ashley Ness, Opinion Editor | she/her
Ashley is a senior from Jacksonville, Florida. She is majoring in psychology with a minor in women’s and gender studies. In her free time, she enjoys going to record stores, collecting funky socks, and playing solitaire. You can also catch her cracking puns. Ashley plans to become a mental health counselor one day.

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NESS’S NOTES: COVID-19 is not a welcome passenger on public transit