Has the public decided the pandemic is over? (Final issue of our covid newsletter)
A recent article in Scientific American is titled, “People, Not Science, Decide When a Pandemic Is Over.”
The feature includes this quote from Marion Dorsey, an associate professor of history at the University of New Hampshire, who among other things is an expert on the so-called Spanish Flu of 1918-1920:
“I believe that pandemics end partially because humans declare them at an end….I don’t think anything really has a meaning until, as a society…, we act as if it is.”
Other academics quoted in the piece say the same – pandemics effectively end when people stop paying attention to them.
Our feeling is that we’ve probably reached that stage with Covid-19, which is why this will be the last Covid themed newsletter we will release for now.
Consider the following:
In the UK, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet and Jet2 have all loosened on flight mask mandates where the destination allows it.
Though KLM will ‘strongly recommend’ that passengers follow the EASA guidelines and wear a mask, this will no longer be enforced by cabin crew.
The USA does still have a Federal face mandate, lasting until 18 April, but 10 airline CEOs have written to Joe Biden, urging the administration to finally drop Covid restrictions.
Might the USA pre-departure test also go at that time?
The background to all this is that domestic restrictions have largely vanished in much of the Global North.
It’s increasingly hard for airlines to insist passengers mask up, when people are living almost pre-Covid lives when it comes to going to shops, travelling on public transport, or eating in restaurants.
Then there is the fact that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed Covid off the front pages. All this means that it no longer looms large in the public consciousness.
Does this mean that Covid is actually over?
Of course not, in fact cases in much of Europe are on the increase. However, the Scientific American piece similarly makes the case that the Spanish Flu did not suddenly vanish, but transformed into seasonal illnesses.
The open question is of course what happens in Hong Kong and mainland China, both of which are actually doubling down on their Zero Covid strategy, though the effectiveness of that has to be questioned given that Hong Kong now faces a coffin shortage, despite tough Covid restrictions.
As a result, the recent SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas, was noticeable for the almost complete lack of Chinese participation, when previously Chinese tech had been a big part of the Interactive strand.
Hence, we’ll probably see some regional Covid restrictions remain, especially in the Far East, though in the Western hemisphere they will continue to be largely dismantled.
The end of the COVID AV-Daily Newsletter
That also means we’ll now shelve our regular Covid-travel newsletter, which we started in May 2020 as the first Covid related newsletter specifically related to aviation.
Since then we have produced over 500 issues, and grown our subscriber list from 5000 to 8000, we’re also aware of a number of airline CEOs subscribing.
However, we will carry on producing content that adds value to aviation industry professionals, despite it no longer having a Covid specific focus.
We’ll send out ad-hoc newsletters on issues such as Ukraine and the impact on airlines, we’ll also carry on with a sustainability newsletter – this will be the issue airlines have to face over the coming decade.
Finally, we’ll be bringing back Aviation Marketing Monthly magazine, which will be out again on a monthly basis from April.
Thank you for reading over these past two years, and we’ll look forward to sharing more content with you over the years to come.