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Delta Air Lines Bans Face Masks “With Exhaust Valves” For Flyers

Delta Air Lines Bans Face Masks “With Exhaust Valves” For Flyers
Joe Cortez

Delta Air Lines is adding another layer to their already strict face covering policy, effective immediately. The airline is banning all face masks that come with an exhaust valve. According to scientists, the popular masks may not be as effective in protecting passengers from the COVID-19 virus.

Although their face mask policy is already strict, Delta Air Lines is adding a new level of complexity to protect flyers aboard crowded aircraft. In a subtle change on their website, Delta notes: “Any mask with an exhaust valve is not approved as an acceptable face mask for customers traveling on any Delta operated flight.”

Why Face Coverings with Exhaust Valves May Be Less Effective

Throughout the novel Coronavirus pandemic, many people have opted for face coverings with exhaust valves. These masks were designed with industrial uses in mind, and claim to offer N95 protection. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, N95 masks filter a minimum of 95 percent of airborne particles.

However, health officials say that these types of masks may be ineffective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. According to the San Francisco Department of Public Health, face masks which have a “one-way valve designed for easier breathing” can spread droplets out of the mask. For someone who is unknowingly carrying the novel Coronavirus (either as an asymptomatic carrier or as a new infection), these masks can endanger other people in their vicinity.

Moreover, experts agree that face masks with any sort of holes – including exhaust vales – may be ineffective in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Doctors say that while wearing these types of masks can protect the user, it’s potentially dangerous for everyone around them.

“In the spirit of ‘your mask protects me and my mask protects you,’ a mask with a valve virtually makes that impossible,” microbiologist Jessica Malaty Rivera told Healthline. “If you don’t have anything filtering what’s going out, it’s kind of like your mouth is an open-air exhaust. And that’s the danger.”

Delta’s Strict Face Mask Policy Gets Stricter

Throughout the pandemic, Delta emerged as a leader in mandatory face mask usage aboard aircraft. In addition to making face coverings mandatory, airline leaders say they have put over 100 people on their internal ban list for refusing to wear a covering. The airline has also provided a “Clearance-to-Fly” option for those who claim they cannot wear a mask.

The tightening coincides with American Airline’s enhanced policy, which became effective on July 29, 2020. Their policy states all flyers at least two years old must wear a face covering from the moment they enter their arrival airport, to the time they leave their departure airport.

View Comments (26)


  1. rylan

    July 31, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    Nice to see that somebody finally is bringing attention to the valved masks and not allowing them. Surprised that DL is the first, but good for them to not allow those types of masks.

  2. jonsail

    July 31, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    A mask with an exhaust valve fails to protect others and I would like to see all businesses enforce that rule.

  3. jjmoore

    July 31, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    These so-called scientists have failed to prove that N95 masks protect people from the virus, so this claim is absolutely absurd.

    There still is not one piece of literature published in a reputable journal that proves the hypothesis. Not. One.

    Once again, new mandates coming out based completely on hear-say.

  4. sdsearch

    August 1, 2020 at 9:05 am

    jjmoore, no masks protect people 100.00000%, but on the hand no masks protect people 000.00000%.

    N95 masks protect people from others to a greater* extent than cloth masks. But neither protects either 0% or 100%.

    *But even the word “greater” is just a word of direction, not a word of amount, ie, it doesn’t mean any particular amount greater, just “greater” as opposed to “same” or “lesser”.

    So are you waiting for them to “prove”???

  5. downinit

    August 1, 2020 at 9:59 am

    I am guessing jjmoore never actually reads the academic journals to validate the claims made, but a quick jot to scholar. google. com would reveal a wealth of reputable journals which offer plenty of support for the wearing of masks.

    The very first one clicked on revealed this in the intro:

    There is a significant decline in daily COVID-19 growth rate after mandating facial covers in public, with the effect increasing over time after signing the order. Specifically, the daily case rate declines by 0.9, 1.1, 1.4, 1.7, and 2.0 percentage-points within 1–5, 6–10, 11–15, and 16–20, and 21+ days after signing, respectively. All of these declines are statistically significant (p<0.05, or less). In contrast, the pre-trends in COVID-19 case growth rates are small and statistically insignificant.

    We also project the number of averted COVID-19 cases with the mandates for face mask use in public by comparing actual cumulative daily cases to daily cases predicted by the model if none of the states had enacted the public face cover mandate at the time they did (see details in appendix B).19 The main model estimates suggest that as many as 230,000–450,000 cases may have been averted due to these mandates by May 22. Estimates of averted cases should be viewed cautiously and only as general approximations.

    ***Community Use Of Face Masks And COVID-19: Evidence From A Natural Experiment Of State Mandates In The US
    Wei Lyu and George L. Wehby

    I am sure there are dozens more, but they would probably not be light reading for someone who is accustomed to getting all their science from entertainment news.

  6. chipmaster

    August 1, 2020 at 11:19 am

    Are valves more dangerous then some of the silly cloth ones that are barely filtering anything?

  7. asdfghjk

    August 1, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    If you add up all the gaps between your face and the cheap, disposable face masks, I am sure it will be bigger than the valve opening. Why do you think it is easier to breathe in these disposable masks? Why don’t we ban these too?

  8. gunsar

    August 1, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    A private company can make whatever rules they like it right? If you disagree with the rules, fly with other airline.

  9. jjmoore

    August 2, 2020 at 9:05 am

    @downinit I know that you wanted this to be your shining moment… to prove someone wrong that hurts your feelings, but now allow me to retort:

    I will start by referring you to a litany of research that has come out of the Univ. of Minnesota that has disproven research this year published that indicates face coverings protect against the Coronavirus and/or result in a decrease in the transmission of the Coronavirus. I advise you educate yourself a bit.

    I am a 15-year scientist and understand research very well. These numbers you are quoting me would make any seasoned scientist laugh. I suggest you also google in “uncontrolled vairables”. Anyone claiming to prove a hypothesis, especially in as uncontrolled of an environment as the GENERAL PUBLIC with data variations in the 0-2% range is completely fooled. Even a 10% variation is subject to scrutiny for these kinds of studies because of variations due to weather patterns, days of the week, travel patterns, and many other factors that are significantly more impactful than the masks themselves.

    You should also note that since California introduced the mask mandate, their infection rate have soared almost 200%. I’m sure some idiot scientist would come out and say (with equal relevance to your posted scientific claims) that face masks are CAUSING an increase in infection rate. But this is just not the case either. What I am saying is that the face mask correlation to prevention, or causal effects is simply not there. UM has done a lot of work to add credence to this assertion, and I recommend you read up.

    Just a few details about N95 face masks: Average pore size for an N95 is 0.3micron. Average diameter of Coronavirus: less than 0.1 micron. The mask will stop the virus carried by a mist droplet, but as soon as the moisture dries, you will pull the virus right through with an inhalation. ANY face mask or covering creates a sticky, moist surface for ANYTHING circulating in the air to stick to, which brings everything right up to your face. As soon as the air environment dries out that surface or even a swuare millimeter of that surface, you will inhale almost any infection (except bacteria) right through it. Wearing a mask will make you more susceptible to what is around you. Simply put. For those that say it is to protect others, not yourself… I will retort by saying you cannot protect anyone if you don’t protect yourself.

    Next, there is 0 scientific evidence that asymptomatic transfer of the virus occurs (even the WHO acknowledged that before they pulled their research and statements because it didn’t fit the MSM narritive). Therefore, wearing a mask when not sick is completely unnecessary.

    In the research labs where scientists work with these kinds of viruses, they wear full body suits with MERV13-16 filter cartridges, which actually do stop the virus… these require assisted respirators. With that said, our puny face coverings do not do anything to protect us. What will help us is:

    1) Wash hands ANY time you touch something in a public place
    2) Do not touch your face unless you sanitize your hands immediately before.
    3) If you are feeling sick with ANYTHING, stay home, and if you do have to go out, cover your face

    This face mask hysteria is created by those that wish to fear monger and assert tyrannical powers over the people.

    The truth is out there, you just have to be intelligent enough to decipher it and put the pieces of the puzzle together. I am not posting these things for any other reason.

  10. chipmaster

    August 2, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    jj for your reading pleasure on a lazy Sunday hopefully sheltering at home ;-)

    “N95 masks are designed to remove more than 95% of all particles that are at least 0.3 microns (µm) in diameter. In fact, measurements of the particle filtration efficiency of N95 masks show that they are capable of filtering ≈99.8% of particles with a diameter of ≈0.1 μm (Rengasamy et al., 2017). SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus ≈0.1 μm in diameter, so N95 masks are capable of filtering most free virions, but they do more than that. How so? Viruses are often transmitted through respiratory droplets produced by coughing and sneezing. Respiratory droplets are usually divided into two size bins, large droplets (>5 μm in diameter) that fall rapidly to the ground and are thus transmitted only over short distances, and small droplets (≤5 μm in diameter). Small droplets can evaporate into ‘droplet nuclei’, remain suspended in air for significant periods of time and could be inhaled. Some viruses, such as measles, can be transmitted by droplet nuclei (Tellier et al., 2019). Larger droplets are also known to transmit viruses, usually by settling onto surfaces that are touched and transported by hands onto mucosal membranes such as the eyes, nose and mouth (CDC, 2020). The characteristic diameter of large droplets produced by sneezing is ~100 μm (Han et al., 2013), while the diameter of droplet nuclei produced by coughing is on the order of ~1 μm (Yang et al., 2007). At present, it is unclear whether surfaces or air are the dominant mode of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, but N95 masks should provide some protection against both (Jefferson et al., 2009; Leung et al., 2020).”

    An every evolving narrative depending on your prospective.

  11. asdfghjk

    August 2, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    @jjmoore: Regarding N95 mask, you said “you will pull the virus right through with an inhalation”. That is completely wrong. N95 masks are supposed to filter at least 95% of 0.3 micron particles. It does not mean that they cannot filter particles smaller than 0.3 micron. As the matter of fact, it is much easier to filter smaller particles. The mask standard use 0.3 micron because it is the hardest particle size to be filtered. I know it seems against common sense, but remember, filtering is not always simply running things thru a net.

  12. MDTyKe

    August 2, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Why exactly are these banned… ? Are they somehow worse than cloth masks?

    Sorry, this is all getting ridiculous.

  13. polinka

    August 2, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    Brilliant. I have been astonished at how people in the US have accepted the mask mandate with such little pushback. It’s quite in-American and it exposes the power of the media coupled with the precipitous fall in education standards. As for the UK, it’s tragic really. One of the great world civilizations and now the people allow themselves to be put on house arrest, their children stripped of education, and they don’t even bother to speak up.

  14. fotographer

    August 3, 2020 at 7:53 am

    Am I the only one that thinks this masks thing has gotten out of hand…?

  15. AJNEDC

    August 3, 2020 at 8:08 am

    @ Polinka. I would like to suggest to you that you send a note to one Herman Cain who publicly came out against masks; refused to wear one and encouraged others not to do so. Why don’t you ask him how his experience has been?

  16. vinnmann

    August 3, 2020 at 11:34 am

    Whether you are for against masks, the narrative as I understand it is that masks are there to protect others from water droplets containing the virus that you produce when talking, sneezing etc. If this is the reason, it makes perfect sense to ban masks with exhaust valves as the valve allows unfiltered air to be expelled by a person.

    However, there has been so much misinformation about this thing from the start, I am not sure what to believe. Seems like common sense to me that large water droplets will get caught when I exhale, but, assuming I have the virus, what happens when that water droplet evaporates? Many masks will not filter particles as small as the virus, so when I exhale will I blow that virus through my mask and into the atmosphere? Is that virus now able to travel even farther through the air because is is not weighted down by the water droplet?

  17. jjmoore

    August 3, 2020 at 11:37 am

    @AJNEDC Herman Cain had stage 4 cancer and a hugely compromised immune system. He would have been infected, regardless of whether or not he was wearing a mask. Pre-COVID-19 … if Herman Cain had passed away from the common flu, his death would likely not have been characterized as a “Flu-related death” … it would have likely been attributed to his compromised immune system directly resulting from his colon cancer. Say what you want, but this is the truth.

    @chipmaster Your paragraph is no stranger to me. What is astonishing is your last sentence, stating “At present, it is unclear whether surfaces or air are the dominant mode of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, but N95 masks should provide some protection against both (Jefferson et al., 2009; Leung et al., 2020).”” This is hardly a clear-cut assertion … the word “SHOULD” is no basis for confirming a scientific hypothesis. Before mandating these kinds of things and shutting the economy down, don’t you think that the word “SHOULD” needs to be replaced with “ABSOLUTELY”? Come on!!!!

    I have been traveling and have been in Vegas, Florida, Caifornia, Texas, and Illinois… all within the last 2 months. No masks except when mandated by a private company (United Airlines, Delta Airlines, any private business that asks me to wear while on the premises). In public spaces, I refuse to wear a mask, as it is my right to do so. The Supreme Court will back me on that one, rest assured.

  18. jjmoore

    August 3, 2020 at 11:42 am

    @chipmaster By the way… good job posting the first article that pops up on Google. The bottom of the abstract also states that the N95 mask ONLY works if the mask is sealed air-tight to the face. This is NEVER the case, and if it was the case, there would be many more people offering hypoxia from increased CO2 inhalation.

    Secondly, the 0.1 micron particulates do penetrate at a much higher percentage through the mask. Remember, 0.1 micron is the average diameter of the Coronavirus, and therefore there is a part of that distribution that has smaller diameter, and the penetration rate through the mask is better than 50% if you do the math. Compliment that with gaps in the seal between the face and the mask… the efficacy of that mask has been relegated nearly irrelevant.

  19. Joe Cortez

    August 3, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    Please do not use the term “Wuhan Virus” on these forums. You are welcome to address it by the widely accepted names “COVID-19” or “Coronavirus.”

  20. seigex

    August 3, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    oh please

  21. vargha

    August 4, 2020 at 4:33 am

    Is Joe Cortez the language police here?

  22. Intrepid

    August 4, 2020 at 6:03 am

    Why masks are not required in the Netherlands?
    Prolly because its a backward EU country….?

  23. lem144

    August 4, 2020 at 6:45 am

    My mask has two valves but also has a replaceable charcoal filter. The filter is essentially the mask since it covers my mouth and nose. The valve help with airflow but it’s still pretty restrictive.

    I wonder if I’d have to get in an argument with the agent showing them how my mask works.

    No plans to fly though, so I guess it’s moot.

  24. ND Sol

    August 4, 2020 at 6:49 am

    From the CDC in an article titled, “Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures” (May 2020): “Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.”

    “Disposable medical masks (also known as surgical masks) are loose-fitting devices that were designed to be worn by medical personnel to protect accidental contamination of patient wounds, and to protect the wearer against splashes or sprays of bodily fluids (36). There is limited evidence for their effectiveness in preventing influenza virus transmission either when worn by the infected person for source control or when worn by uninfected persons to reduce exposure. Our systematic review found no significant effect of face masks on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.”

    “We did not find evidence that surgical-type face masks are effective in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza transmission, either when worn by infected persons (source control) or by persons in the general community to reduce their susceptibility (Figure 2).”

  25. jlc1978

    August 4, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    In public spaces, I refuse to wear a mask, as it is my right to do so. The Supreme Court will back me on that one, rest assured.

    Jacobson v Massachusetts as precedent would indicate otherwise.

  26. ranles

    August 8, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    Guess medical people throughout the USA are really stupid. They wear masks.

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