Justice Department appeals mask decision after CDC says warrant ‘remains necessary for public health’

The Justice Department has filed an appeal seeking to overturn a judge’s recent ruling that ended the nation’s mask mandate on public transportation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had asked the department to appeal the decision, issuing a statement on Wednesday that the warrant “remains necessary for public health.”

“The CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in all indoor public transportation settings,” the CDC statement continued. “The CDC’s number one priority is to protect our country’s public health. As we’ve said before, wearing masks is most beneficial in crowded or poorly ventilated areas, such as the transportation corridor.”

The Ministry of Justice mentioned On Tuesday, he would appeal U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s ruling only if the CDC says the warrant is still needed. The department said Tuesday it disagreed with the district court’s decision, and after filing the appeal, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley released a statement Wednesday saying “In light of today’s assessment by the CDC that an order requiring masking in the transportation corridor remains necessary to protect public health, the Department has filed a notice of appeal in Health Freedom Defense Fund, Inc., et al., c. Biden, et al.

Monday, Mizelle canceled the CDC’s requirement covering airplanes and other public transportation, judging that the mandate exceeded the authority of the American health authorities. In the aftermath, the Transportation Security Administration said it would no longer enforce the warrant.

The judge’s decision came days after the CDC had extended the mandate of the maskwhich was due to expire on Monday, by two weeks to give researchers more time to study the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron.

However, the response to the decision was varied. Some cities, including New York and Philadelphia, still require masks to be worn at airports and on public transit, while others, such as Houston and Atlanta, do not. Even the airlines now have different rules for masking, although most now say masks are optional for passengers. Amtrak also said masks are no longer required on trains or in stations.

Asked on Tuesday whether people should still wear masks on planes, President Biden replied: “It’s up to them,” according to the Associated Press.

Dr. Céline Gounder, infectious disease expert and editor of Kaiser Health News, says “CBS Mornings” that expanding the CDC was the “appropriate” and “prudent” approach.

“We know this virus mutates. In fact, it mutates very quickly,” she said. “We’ll see more variants, and we’ll see more pandemics after COVID. So I think the idea of ​​depriving ourselves of an essential tool and toolbox is a really bad idea.”

Victoria Albert and Robert Legare contributed reporting.

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