The Justice Department has appealed a judge’s recent ruling that ended the country’s mask mandate on public transport. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had asked the department to appeal the decision and issued a statement Wednesday saying the mandate “remains necessary for public health.”
“CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in all public transportation environments,” the CDC continued. “CDC’s number one priority is protecting the public health of our nation. As we’ve said before, wearing masks is most beneficial in crowded or poorly ventilated locations, such as the transportation aisle.”
the Ministry of JusticeOn Tuesday, it would only appeal U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s decision if the CDC said the mandate was still needed. The department said Tuesday it disagreed with the district court’s decision, and in filing the appeal, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley issued a statement on Wednesday stating: “In light of the assessment by the CDC today that an order requiring masking in the transportation aisle remains necessary To protect public health, the Department has filed an appeal in Health Freedom Defense Fund, Inc., et al., v. Biden, et al.†
On Monday, Mizelle, ruled that the mandate exceeded the authority of US health officials. In the aftermath, the Transportation Security Administration said it would no longer enforce the mandate.
The judge’s decision came days after the CDCwhich expired Monday, with two weeks to give researchers more time to study the Omicron subvariant BA.2.
However, reactions to the ruling have been mixed. Some cities, including New York City and Philadelphia, still require masks to be worn at airports and on public transportation, while others, such as Houston and Atlanta, do not. Even airlines now have different rules for masks, although most now say masks are optional for passengers. Amtrak has also said masks are no longer necessary on trains or in stations.
Asked Tuesday whether people should still wear masks on airplanes, President Biden replied: “It’s up to them,” according to The Associated Press.
dr. Céline Gounder, infectious disease expert and general editor for Kaiser Health News,that the CDC’s extension was the “appropriate” and “cautious” approach.
“We know that this virus mutates. In fact, it mutates very quickly,” she said. “We’ll see more variants, and we’ll see other pandemics after COVID. So I think the idea of ridding ourselves of an essential tool and toolbox is a really bad idea.”
Victoria Albert and Robert Legare reported.