Face masks are forever. If you blinked, or weren’t paying attention, you might have missed it. If you weren’t tuning into CDC director Rochelle Walensky, then you didn’t hear it at all.

Several media outlets picked up on something Walensky subtly added to a statement about mask efficacy. You probably weren’t paying attention to them either, which is what they are counting on. The CDC director endorsed the idea of permanent masking, during seasonal communicable diseases, including the seasonal flu or common cold.

In an HHS statement on YouTube, Walensky sneakily slips “protection from the flu, or coronavirus” into her statement. “Whether it’s an infection from the flu, coronavirus, or even just the common cold. In combination with other steps like vaccination, hand washing and keeping physical distance, wearing your mask is an important step you can take to keep us all healthy.”

Set aside for a second how our media seems completely uninterested in revisiting President Biden’s “Masked or Vaxxed” stance from July, one he himself does not abide by despite being fully vaccinated, with a booster shot. Instead, let’s recall how the idea of throwing the common cold and the seasonal flu in with the coronavirus was one predicted by those the media brands as the kook fringe. Those same members of the media are falling in line and failing to query the Biden CDC about the implications of changing the rules on people. What does this shift in position mean for the prospect of permanent mandates? How does it impact Biden’s OSHA edict on vaccine mandates for private businesses? Americans deserve answers to these questions — as once again the Biden administration is mixing politics with science for reasons that many have a right to be skeptical about.

On Sunday ABC News ran a piece headlined “Got your booster? Here are 5 reasons to keep following public health measures for a bit longer” by Dr Jay Bhatt, an internal medicine physician and instructor at the University of Illinois School of Public Health. Bhatt also recommends the continuation of emergency COVID-19 protocols — such as social distancing and mask wearing — to combat the flu and the common cold. “Masks, hand-washing and all of the other measures that you used to protect against COVID-19 will generally also protect you against flu.” And MSNBC’s “Morning” Joe Scarborough offered support for staying in masks on planes for another two years on Monday: “We’ve flown so many years and you hear somebody coughing and sneezing and you’re like I’m going to have the flu and halftime you did… it is one place where, man, if I can go another year and a half, two years without the flu, I’ll put that mask on in a plane where are whether I like it or not.”

The primary problem with the “just wear a mask, who cares?” attitude is, as we’ve seen, requests from the CDC often become mandates, and they become mandates very quickly. This contributes to the eroding public trust with which the CDC and the Biden administration are having to contend. The government should be fielding questions on what its official mask policy is. In contrast, newly elected New York City mayor Eric Adams has said he wants to lift school mask mandates upon entering office, despite Biden’s OSHA still enforcing CDC’s Face Mask Order, which requires masks on public transportation and airplanes, even as 80 percent of adults are either half or fully vaccinated.

Another cause for concern and confusion: Biden himself doesn’t seem to know what his own policy is. Sometimes he wears one, sometimes he doesn’t, sometimes he’ll approach people and pull his mask down to speak. This weekend both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and AFT president Randi Weingarten were spotted maskless indoors while partying away in Puerto Rico, a territory which operates a mandatory mask policy in all indoor public spaces.

More and more, when it comes to masking and mandates, the rules are meant to be followed by you, not them. That’s why we should confront the sly tactic of slipping in mask-wearing for seasonal viruses our body combats naturally.