CDC Extends Travel Mask Mandate

CDC Extends Travel Mask Mandate- Despite protests from airlines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is extending its mask mandate by 15 more days.

The CDC announced the news on Wednesday, saying that it “continues to recommend wearing a mask while traveling.”

The original order put forth by CDC was set to expire on April 13th, and required all passengers flying into the United States to wear a face mask. The extension will now last until May 11th.

Notably, this is not the first time the CDC has extended its travel mandate – in January, the agency extended the order through February.

The CDC says that its decision to extend the mandate is based on “the continued risk of COVID-19 transmission” both domestically and internationally.

“[The] CDC continues to monitor the spread of the Omicron variant, especially the BA.2 subvariant that now makes up more than 85% of U.S. cases,” said CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund.

“Since early April, there have been increases in the 7-day moving average of cases in the U.S. In order to assess the potential impact the rise of cases has on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and health care system capacity, the CDC Order will remain in place at this time,” Nordlund said.

“The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has decided to extend the security directive and emergency amendment for 15 days, through May 3, 2022,” she continued.

According to the CDC, there has been an uptick in cases in several states across the country in recent weeks. Which has led to the increased pro mask mandate rhetoric coming from outlets like the city of Philadelphia and the White House COVID-19 czar.

As reported just yesterday, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha admitted during an interview with “TODAY” that public transportation mask mandates were still “on the table.”

Per a letter from CEOs of Alaska Air, Atlas Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, FedEx Express, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, UPS Airlines and Airlines for America, this extension “makes no sense.”

“People are still required to wear masks on airplanes, yet are allowed to congregate in crowded restaurants, schools and at sporting events without masks, despite none of these venues having the protective air filtration system that aircraft do,” the letter argued.

“Now is the time for the Administration to sunset federal transportation travel restrictions — including the international predeparture testing requirement and the federal mask mandate — that are no longer aligned with the realities of the current epidemiological environment,” the letter continued.

It’s worth noting that the federal travel mask mandate has remained in all 50 states despite each one announcing plans to end them prior to today’s announcement.

Surely this CDC extension is not surprising, but it will continue to be a point of contention between the CDC and major airlines going forward.

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