Washington— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Wednesday that they would expand their response nationwidefor passengers on airplanes and public transport until May 3, citing the need to assess the impact of a new coronavirus subvariant that is the cause of most COVID-19 infections in the States -United
The mask mandate was set to expire on April 18, but the Biden administration will keep the requirement in place for another 15 days amid rising cases driven by the new Omicron variant BA.2 subline, which constitutes.
“In order to assess the potential impact of increased cases on serious illness, including hospitalizations and deaths, and health care system capacity, the CDC order will remain in place for the time being,” it said. the CDC said in a statement.
The decision to keep the mandate in place in early May comes as Republican lawmakers andpushed the Biden administration to lift masking requirements after a sharp drop in cases starting in mid-January. But the new subvariant of the Omicron strain has led to an uptick in reported infections since early April, causing outbreaks in the northeast and parts of Florida.
Still, most of the country has low community levels of COVID-19, according to the CDC. The levels are determined by looking at the percentage of hospital beds used by patients with COVID-19, the rate of new hospital admissions and the rate of new cases in the community.
Yet Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration,Sunday that the country is “significantly underreporting cases” with many Americans taking home COVID-19 tests, the results of which are mostly not being reported to public health agencies.
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said on Monday that expanding the travel mask mandate is “on the table” even as states have lifted mask requirements. indoors following the drop in new infections after the peak in mid-January.
Airlines began requiring passengers to wear face masks in 2020, and the CDC issued the federal requirement for mass transit in January 2021 after President Biden took office. But the aircraft warrant has been a, and flight attendants were left to enforce it. Carriers have reported 1,150 unruly passenger incidents so far this year, 744 of which were related to face masks, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.