Justice Division appeals masks mandate ruling after CDC says it “stays mandatory for the general public well being”

The Justice Division has filed an attraction that seeks to reverse a decide’s current ruling that ended the nation’s masks mandate on public transit. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention had requested the division to attraction the choice, issuing an announcement Wednesday that stated the mandate “stays mandatory for the general public well being.”

“CDC continues to advocate that individuals put on masks in all indoor public transportation settings,” the CDC’s assertion continued. “CDC’s primary precedence is defending the general public well being of our nation. As we have now stated earlier than, sporting masks is most helpful in crowded or poorly ventilated areas, such because the transportation hall.”

The Justice Division stated Tuesday it will attraction U.S. District Decide Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s resolution provided that the CDC stated the mandate was nonetheless mandatory. The division stated Tuesday that it disagreed with the district court docket’s resolution, and upon submitting the attraction, Justice Division spokesman Anthony Coley issued an announcement Wednesday saying, “In gentle of at present’s evaluation by the CDC that an order requiring masking within the transportation hall stays mandatory to guard the general public well being, the Division has filed a discover of attraction in Well being Freedom Protection Fund, Inc., et al., v. Biden, et al.

On Monday, Mizelle voided the CDC’s requirement overlaying airplanes and different public transit, ruling that the mandate exceeded the authority of U.S. well being officers. Within the aftermath, the Transportation Safety Administration stated it will not implement the mandate.

The decide’s resolution got here days after the CDC had prolonged the masks mandate, which had been set to run out Monday, by two weeks to present researchers extra time to review the Omicron subvariant BA.2.   

Nonetheless, the response to the ruling has been assorted. Some cities, together with New York Metropolis and Philadelphia, nonetheless require masks to be worn in airports and on public transportation, whereas others, similar to Houston and Atlanta, don’t. Even airways now have differing guidelines for masking, though most now say masks are elective for passengers. Amtrak has additionally stated masks are not required on trains or in stations.

Requested Tuesday if folks ought to nonetheless put on masks on planes, President Biden replied: “That is as much as them,” in line with The Related Press.

Dr. Céline Gounder, an infectious illness knowledgeable and editor-at-large for Kaiser Well being Information, advised “CBS Mornings” that the CDC’s extension was the “acceptable” and “cautious” strategy.

“We all know that this virus mutates. The truth is, it is mutating very quickly,” she stated. “We are going to see extra variants, and we are going to see different pandemics after COVID. So I do suppose the concept of stripping ourselves of a vital device and toolbox is a extremely dangerous concept.”

Victoria Albert and Robert Legare contributed reporting.

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