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Airlines now enforcing mandatory face covering policy; passenger kicked off flight for not wearing mask

An American Airlines passenger was kicked off a flight Wednesday after he refused to wear a face mask. This comes just days after airlines announced that there would be stricter enforcement of their mandatory face covering policy.

Airlines for America, an industry trade group representing major airlines, announced last month that they support new measures “requiring customer-facing employees and passengers wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth throughout the journey — during check-in, boarding, in-flight and deplaning.”

The coronavirus safety guidelines of mandatory face coverings weren’t enforced until this week.

“Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization representing the leading U.S. airlines, announced that its member carriers will be vigorously enforcing face covering policies, putting rigor around rules requiring passengers and customer-facing employees to wear facial coverings over their nose and mouth,” the statement released on Monday read. “This is one critical element of the multiple layers that A4A carriers are implementing to mitigate risk and protect passengers and crew.”

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines agreed to require face coverings for passengers.

“Each carrier will determine the appropriate consequences for passengers who are found to be in noncompliance of the airline’s face covering policy up to and including suspension of flying privileges on that airline,” the Airlines for America statement said.

Delta Air Lines and American Airlines threatened to ban flyers who do not comply with their mandatory face covering policies.

“We take our mask requirement just as seriously. That’s why customers are not allowed to board a Delta aircraft without wearing a mask and must follow crew member instructions to properly wear a mask in flight,” Delta said in a statement. “Those who choose not to comply with this or other safety requirements risk future flight privileges with Delta.”

“American already enforces this policy at the gate and will deny boarding to customers who don’t comply,” American Airlines said in a news release. “American now may also deny future travel for customers who refuse to wear a face covering.”

On Wednesday, the new rules were challenged by an American Airlines passenger. Brandon Straka was booted from a flight from New York to Dallas after he refused to wear a face mask. Straka was removed from American Airlines Flight 1263 from LaGuardia to Dallas/Fort Worth.

“After he refused to comply with the instructions provided by the flight crew, our team members asked him to deplane,” a statement from American Airlines said. “He deplaned and the flight departed the gate four minutes late at 12:34 p.m. ET.”

New York Times reporter Astead Herndon was on the same flight, and recorded the confrontation between Straka and a flight attendant. The video does not show Straka or the flight crew member, but it features the audio between the two.

The flight attendant asks Straka if he has a medical condition that prevents him from wearing a mask, and he says that he does. The flight crew member asks, “Do you have a medical certificate, do you have documentation from a doctor, do you have a letter?” Straka replies that he doesn’t have any of those items.

“You’re holding up the whole airplane at this point,” the flight attendant tells Straka.

Several passengers are heard commenting on the situation; one passenger says,” Sir, can you put it on or get off?”

Straka told CNN in a phone interview that the flight was preparing to depart when “one of the flight attendants came to me pretty aggressively and said, ‘Sir, you need to be wearing your mask.’ And I said, ‘Well, I don’t have one.'”

“I was just removed from my flight for not wearing a mask. 1st time this has happened. Not a federal law,” Straka wrote on Twitter. “@AmericanAir staff standing over me telling me it’s THE LAW. So much for ‘please respect those who can not wear a mask.’ When I pointed out this wasn’t a law I was removed.”

“STILL nobody has asked if there’s a reason why I can’t,” Straka said on Twitter. “AFTER kicked me off, manager says ‘they made a mistake. shouldn’t have done that.'”

“This is insane. Absolutely insane,” Straka said in a Periscope video. “These people have gone absolutely nuts. We don’t even have a choice anymore.”

Straka said he finds it “difficult and prohibitive to wear a mask.”

“I fly sometimes two or three times a week, and even during shutdown I was flying a minimum of once every two weeks,” Straka said. “I am quite used to traveling and this has literally never been an issue. Not one single time, even with this airline.”

Straka was rebooked on a later flight after he agreed to adhere to company policies, the airline said.

Straka is politically active, and is the founder of the WalkAway campaign, which “encourages and supports those on the Left to walk away from the divisive tenets endorsed and mandated by the Democratic Party of today.”

The Federal Aviation Administration does not require passengers or flight crew to wear masks on commercial flights.

Stephen Dickson, the head of the FAA, told a Senate committee that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the lead agency on COVID-19 precautions and not the FAA.

“Our space is aviation safety and their space is public health,” Dickson said.

When asked why the FAA isn’t making face coverings mandatory, Dickson cited Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s policy that “these will not be regulatory mandates.”

Dickson did encourage airline passengers to wear face coverings “for their own protection and the protection of those around them. Face coverings are especially important in situations where social distancing is not feasible.”

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Angela Merkel declares COVID-19 Germany’s greatest challenge ‘since World War II’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on her country’s citizens to come together in fighting the coronavirus as the nation closed its borders to other European Union members on Wednesday, declaring the COVID-19 pandemic Germany’s greatest challenge “since World War Two.”

What are the details?

In a televised address, Ms. Merkel “urged Germans to heed the stringent confinement measures imposed this week as the number of infections in her country soared over 11,000 today, including 20 deaths,” the
Daily Mail reported.

“It is serious. Take it seriously,” the chancellor said, according to
Reuters. “Not since German reunification, actually, since World War II, there has never been a challenge for our country in which acting in solidarity was so very crucial.”

added, “I truly believe we can succeed in this task, if all citizens truly understand their own tasks.”

The German government has advised the entire country to close daycare facilities and schools until the end of the Easter holiday, Reuters reported. Stores selling non-essential goods and services have also been shuttered, but grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and other essential businesses remain open.

Sky News reported that Merkel said her government’s measures aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 may seem “dramatic,” but that they are “indispensable in order to protect lives.”

Also on Wednesday, Germany’s transport minister, Andreas Scheuer, announced the country’s borders would be closed to citizens of other EU nations, Politico reported.

In a statement released by his ministry, Scheuer said, “Today we are taking a further step to protect the population. We are expanding restrictions on people traveling into the country to travelers from the European member countries — regardless of whether they travel to Germany via air, rail, water or road.”

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Coronavirus Pandemic: Italy Confirmed Almost 200 Deaths In 24 Hours

Source: MSN

Italy has been ravaged by the outbreak of the coronavirus, now officially labeled a pandemic by the World Health Organization.  Italy has recorded almost 200 deaths from COVID-19 in a mere 24 hours.

Still fighting the virus, Italians have now recorded the highest daily increase in absolute terms registered anywhere in the world since the respiratory illness emerged in Wuhan, China at the end of last year. From Tuesday to Wednesday, 196 people died, bringing the total number of deaths to 897, the Civil Protection Agency said in a statement. Confirmed cases across the country rose to 12,462 from a previous 10,149.

In response, the country’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, told reporters the government would allocate 25 billion euros ($28.3 billion) to help mitigate the impact on the fragile economy. Only a week ago, he estimated it would need just 7.5 billion, according to a report by NBC News.

After an initial lockdown in the north failed to prevent the spread, the government on Monday banned all nonessential travel and public gatherings throughout Italy until April 3, halted all sports events and extended the shutdown of schools. –NBC News.

Other than China, Italy has been hit hardest by this pandemic. China’s state media claims that the virus has “passed its peak” in the country and cases are falling.  They are crediting their authoritarian and tyrannical forced quarantine polices. According to Reuters, new coronavirus cases in Hubei province, which contains Wuhan, the epicenter of the disease that Wednesday was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, totaled just eight on Thursday — the lowest number recorded so far.

China Is Literally Dragging People Out Of Their Homes And Sending Them To “Mass Quarantine Camps”

“Broadly speaking, the peak of the epidemic has passed for China,” National Health Commission Spokesman Mi Feng said, according to Reuters. “The increase of new cases is falling.”

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Breaking: President Trump suspends travel from Europe to US in fight against coronavirus spread

President Donald Trump announced during a primetime address to the nation Wednesday that he would soon be imposing a 30-day ban on travel from Europe to the United States in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The president noted that the U.K. would be exempt from the restrictions.

What are the details?

“To keep new [coronavirus] cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days,” the president said, explaining that the ban would go into effect at midnight on Friday.

“These restrictions will be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground,” President Trump continued. “There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings, and these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval.”

He added, “These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom.”

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Netanyahu announces 14-day coronavirus self-quarantine for everyone coming to Israel from overseas

Amid the continued outbreak of the new coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday that all travelers coming to the country from abroad will subject to a two-week quarantine upon arrival.

“After a day of complex discussions, we made a decision: Everyone who comes to Israel from abroad will enter the 14-day isolation,” the prime minister said in a tweet, according to a Twitter translation from Hebrew. “This is a tough decision, but it is essential to maintain public health – and public health precedes everything.”

In the announcement, Netanyahu also said that the policy would be in place for two weeks, and that in the meantime the government would be working to shore up the country’s economy.

The Jerusalem Post also reported that, while the quarantine policy will go into effect for Israelis immediately, it will go into effect for foreigners in 72 hours. The outlet also noted that non-Israelis will not be allowed to enter the country while the policy is in effect unless they can prove that they have a place to stay for the quarantine period.

The prime minister’s announcement came on the same day that the country confirmed its 42nd case of the new virus, according to the Times of Israel. Th outlet also reported that a man in the country who contracted the virus from an unknown source had visited multiple public places such as shopping malls and a home for the elderly, according to the country’s Ministry of Health.

However, the country has had zero deaths from the virus so far, according to World Health Organization numbers updated on Monday.

Those same WHO numbers placed the total number of confirmed cases around the world at over 109,000 and the number of worldwide deaths from the disease at over 3,800. The vast majority of those cases and deaths have been in mainland China where the disease originated late last year.

Prior to Monday’s announcement, Israel had already ordered travelers from several other countries — including Italy, Germany France, Spain, China, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea — to undergo self-quarantine, according to Reuters. Last month, the country became the first in the world to formally advise its citizens to avoid all travel abroad.

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All Of A Sudden, People All Over America Are Prepping Like Crazy

This article was originally published by Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse Blog. 

I can’t remember a time when we have seen such widespread “panic buying” all over the nation.  Today I spoke with someone that just visited the closest Wal-Mart in this area, and I was told that there are empty shelves all over the store.  There are very few canned goods left, some of the most essential medications have been cleaned out, and there was nothing left in the long-term storable food section at all.

Of course, similar things are being reported at major retail stores all across the United States.  All of a sudden, fear of COVID-19 has motivated thousands upon thousands of Americans to start prepping like crazy.  But most of the population is still not taking this crisis seriously enough.  As the number of confirmed cases all over the world continues to rise at an exponential rate, what are the stores going to look like when most of the country finally realizes that they should be prepping for an extended pandemic?

Over the past several days, this coronavirus outbreak has escalated significantly.

From Saturday to Sunday, the number of confirmed cases in Italy jumped by 50 percent

Italy reported a 50% increase in coronavirus cases Sunday, as the US further restricted travel and the famed La Scala opera house closed.

Italy’s Civil Protection Authority reported the country now has 1,694 confirmed coronavirus cases, up from 1,128 confirmed cases on Saturday. Thirty-four people have died.

And in Germany, the number of confirmed cases actually doubled in just 24 hours.

Here in the United States, confirmed cases are now popping up all over the nation, and we are being warned to brace for a “boom” of confirmed cases

A “boom” of confirmed cases of the coronavirus that has now killed more than 3,000 people around the world — including two in the U.S. — could already be racing across America despite ramped-up efforts to contain the outbreak, experts say.

The spread of the virus by “community transmissions” is an indication that we could indeed be looking at the tip of the iceberg,” Ogbonnaya Omenka, an assistant professor and public health specialist at Butler University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, told USA TODAY on Sunday.

Overall, the number of confirmed cases outside of China has more than tripled over the past week.  If we continue to see that sort of growth rate, there will be more than a million confirmed cases outside of China just five weeks from now.

I don’t think that it will happen that quickly, and let us pray that we don’t hit that number at all, but right now this outbreak is starting to spiral out of control.

As the fear of this virus rises, grocery stores from coast to coast are stocking up on essential supplies in an effort “to prevent shortages”

Now grocers are working to prevent shortages and preparing for a spike in demand for disinfectants and long-lasting items such as pasta and canned food. Some are ramping up orders from suppliers.

“This is like a natural disaster, but it’s an illness,” said Doug Baker, vice president of industry relations at FMI, a trade group for food retailers.

In the short-term, hopefully, things won’t be too bad.

But without a doubt, global supply chains are becoming extremely strained due to the widespread shutdowns inside of China, and that has led one analyst to predict “empty shelves in Target and Walmart as early as April”

“Literally, empty shelves in Target and Walmart as early as April,” predicts David Iwinski, a local China business consultant who once ran a factory in China.

Most retail stores are likely to have shortages because the coronavirus in China is hampering the manufacture of products shipped to America.

If there are things that you need to go buy, you need to do it now, because thousands upon thousands of Americans are already storming the stores.

In Los Angeles, a local Costco was quickly raided of the most essential supplies when the store opened on Saturday morning

At a Costco Wholesale market in Los Angeles Saturday morning, a swarm of shoppers loaded up carts with essential items to prepare for a possible period of quarantine.

According to the chain, water, paper towels and Clorox disinfecting wipes were the most in-demand products.

And up in northern California, photos of completely empty shelves over the weekend were rapidly shared on social media

On social media, residents further north shared shocking photos and videos from Costco centers in San Francisco.

Shelves were depleted of tinned food, while some shoppers climbed up onto shelving in order to reach remaining supplies of rice.

Of course, the exact same thing is happening in other states as well.

In Washington, one local resident claimed that “thousands of people” have been descending on the local Costco centers…

I live in the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Washington State. My advice for those elsewhere – go to Costco now. Thousands of people at local stores yesterday – not where you want to be if there is a virus spreading. Glad I went a week ago.

And one video that has been very widely shared shows hundreds of people lined up at a Costco in Brooklyn before it even opened in the morning.

Up to this point, only two people have died from the virus in the United States.

So what will things look like if thousands of people start dying?

Already, there is a worldwide shortage of protective face masks.  In fact, things have gotten so bad that Surgeon General Jerome Adams posted a tweet demanding that people stop buying them

The surgeon general has a message for people who want to run out and stockpile masks to combat the coronavirus – don’t.

“Seriously people – STOP BUYING MASKS!” Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted. “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”

Personally, I don’t understand his logic.  If the masks are not effective, then why do healthcare providers need them?

Yes, the masks have limited effectiveness against a virus that is so easy to catch.  But at least they are better than nothing.

The time of “the perfect storm” is here, and this virus has the potential to greatly accelerate our problems.

We still don’t know if this will be the great global pandemic that so many have warned about, but Bill Gates certainly seems to believe that this may be the “once-in-a-century pathogen we’ve been worried about”

Billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said the coronavirus that has killed at least 2,859 people and infected more than 83,700 globally may be the “once-in-a-century pathogen we’ve been worried about.”

“I hope it’s not that bad, but we should assume it will be until we know otherwise,” Gates wrote in an article published Friday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Personally, I am still hoping that this outbreak will start to subside once warmer weather arrives.

But so far nothing is slowing this virus down.  As I mentioned above, the total number of cases outside of China has more than tripled over the last seven days, and that is a huge red flag.

If you need to get to the store, do it now.  Because at the rate that people are raiding the stores, there could soon be shortages of some of the most important supplies.

As The Coronavirus Spreads, Survival Gear Keeps Selling Out!

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations, I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and anyway that you can share these articles with others is a great help.