The White House and others pushed back against a statement Delta Air Lines made on Monday regarding its masking guidance in which the company called COVID-19 “an ordinary seasonal virus.”
“We are relieved to see the U.S. mask mandate lift to facilitate global travel as COVID-19 has transitioned to an ordinary seasonal virus,” Delta said, according to a screenshot of the original statement shared by a reporter from The New York Times.
An official from the White House quote-tweeted the Times reporter’s post, pushing back against Delta’s statement.
“COVID is not an ‘ordinary seasonal virus,’” White House assistant press secretary Kevin Munoz tweeted.
Health experts also immediately slammed the press release from the airline.
“Hey @Delta- Deaths from Covid: >1 million Deaths from Flu: 12k- 52k,” Aditi Nerurkar, a lecturer on global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, tweeted. “This is not an ‘ordinary seasonal virus.’”
“I don’t care what you think about masking, but @Delta’s comment that #SARSCOV2 has transitioned to become an ‘ordinary seasonal virus’ is just bonkers, has no basis in science and is outright misinformation misleading their customers (of which I am one!),” Gregg Gonsalves, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, tweeted.
Multiple news outlets reported that Delta updated its statement on Tuesday. A Delta spokesperson told NPR in an email that the statement had been updated “for clarity and accuracy.”
The updated statement from Delta said that the coronavirus is transitioning “to a manageable respiratory virus.”
The Hill has reached out to Delta for comment.
This comes after a federal judge on Monday struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) travel mask mandate. Delta quickly nixed its mask mandate following the ruling, as did other major airlines.