CDC extends its mask mandate for planes, trains for two more weeks
The mask mandate was due to expire on April 18. However, the Federal government has decided to extend the mask requirement for yet another two weeks only due to rising COVID-19 case numbers across the country.
Mask regulations have been a concern for many and a debate that has been raging for some time. The mandate, which was initially put in place in January 2021 & is set to expire on April 18, has recently come under fire for providing the public with no choice other than wearing masks or to be excluded from traveling altogether. The CDC mandate to test for an increase in severe illness will now end on May 3rd and not be extended.
Transportation Security Administration announced that they are extending the mask mandate due to public health concerns. In its report, the CDC said it was recommending this change due to the increased risk of infection that may result from airborne particles. In this report, the CDC said a “very effective” option for those with respiratory infections was to use a surgical mask in addition to an N95 respirator.
Airlines and travel groups have been urging the Biden administration to lift pandemic-era restrictions, including mask requirements along with pre-arrival testing. Since then, several CEOs of airlines and travel groups have urged them to approve measures that allow for mandatory quarantines.
COVID-19 cases in the United States have fallen by 35% since January, but recent COVID-19 cases have spiked up. Currently, the overwhelming majority of cases in the U.S. are due to a new omicron subvariant that is spreading like wildfire and has so far not been seen before. In the past, hospitalizations and deaths have tended to lag weeks behind case increases, but this is not the case with this new subvariant. This variant has been responsible for the most deaths and hospitalizations so far.
Masks will remain a requirement in airports and on planes, trains, buses, and other modes of transportation, despite many cities and states across the country having waived their own mask-wearing rules. Nevada has been especially helpful in this regard: the state has not adopted the federal one-size-fits-all rule, but rather, has taken care to make sure that its own rules are appropriate for its specific circumstances.
“To be clear: I am not calling for a ban on plastic bag bans in Nevada. We take our environmental regulation seriously and legislate to govern our environment as best we can. At this point, COVID-19-related laws are already in force in a handful of countries. Iceland, for example, has eliminated its rules altogether. Airlines can now adhere to their own version of the law without worrying about international agencies and travel restrictions getting involved.
Philadelphia has been reinstating mandatory face coverings despite the rise in individual cases on the below surface.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” the city wrote in its decision. By implementing the mask mandate sooner rather than later, the Health Department hopes to keep the number of cases from skyrocketing as we saw in December and January.