Despite nearly a week of stoking fear about COVID-19 after Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle struck down the CDC’s mask mandate on airplanes and public transit, Friday’s CBS Mornings ignored the far-left City of Philadelphia axing the mask mandate that it reinstated on Monday.
CBS’s omission didn’t stop ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today from covering it with the former fretting about the “face mask whiplash” and defanging of the CDC amid “rising cases numbers.”
GMA co-host Michael Strahan spoke in an opening tease of “[m]ore face mask whiplash” with Philadelphia dropping theirs, Los Angeles instituting one for travel, and “confusion mounting this morning...in the face of rising case numbers across the country.”
Weekend co-host Whit Johnson joined with the “whiplash” terminology with correspondent Erielle Reshef doing the same. After she ran down the changes from late Thursday night, Strahan fretted that while “Philly officials say the numbers are leveling off there, but numbers are still on the rise across much of the country.”
For her part, Reshef ran down the numbers, but after having tried to paint a grim picture, she pointed out that “deaths” remain “down” (click “expand”):
In the past week, the new infection rate has been growing by almost 33 percent nationwide. 35 states seeing an increase of 10 percent or more this week. And as cases climb, so are hospitalizations. Admissions going up seven percent this week. Health experts say, of course, there are a number of factors here, masks are coming off. Fewer mitigation measures and more variants now circulating.
The good news for now is that hospital — despite that rise in the hospitalizations, deaths are down. Health officials pointing out, though, that with all of this at home testing, that we are collecting data is a little bit more complicated and there may be actually higher infection rates than we have right now as data, Michael.
The trio were back in the second hour, including Reshef reporting that “health experts say there are several factors at play” for rising cases, including “[t]he masks are coming off, fewer mitigation measures, and there are more variants circulating.”
But as The New York Times’s David Leonhardt noted Friday morning, many of the recent mask mandates have done little to nothing to stem the spread of COVID (and particularly with the omicron variant).
NBC’s Today was less hyperbolic. Co-host Savannah Guthried teased of reporting on “the battle over masks intensifying” and correspondent Morgan Chesky said from Dallas: “What a difference a few days make. Here inside this Dallas terminal, there are plenty of people that are happy to ditch those masks before they board their plans here.”
Highlighting the show’s Thursday interview with the CEO of United (and CNBC’s with the head of American Airlines), Chesky noted the CDC’s desire to preserve precedence for future pandemic, but he also pointed out how reinstituting a mask mandate on planes would be a challenge: “The biggest names in domestic air travel standing firm on no mandated masks in the sky.”
Along with a plethora of Earth Day segments, CBS Mornings did find time to cover a study that tried (and failed) to perfectly cut in half the filling of Oreo’s.
To see the relevant transcript from April 22, click here (for ABC) and here (for CBS).