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CDC will extend travel mask requirements to May 3 with rising COVID – reporter online

By ZEKE MILLER and DAVID KOENIG

Washington (AP) — The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it would extend the national mask requirements for air and public transport by 15 days as it monitors the increase in COVID-19 cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has extended the order, which was scheduled to expire on April 18, to May 3, and now we are.

“The CDC’s order remains valid to assess the potential impact of increased cases on serious illnesses such as hospitalization and death, and the capacity of the healthcare system,” officials said in a statement. rice field.

When the Transportation Security Administration, which enforces rules for planes, buses, trains and transportation hubs, extended the requirements last month, the CDC said it wanted to develop a more flexible masking strategy to replace the national requirements. ..

Maskmandates are the most visible and perhaps the most controversial trace of government regulation to control a pandemic. The surge in abusive and sometimes violent cases on airplanes is largely due to the controversy over wearing masks.

Airlines have been lobbying for months to abolish this requirement. Effective air filters on modern airplanes claim that the virus is very unlikely to be transmitted during flight. Republicans in Congress also fought to kill the mission.

Critics have seized the fact that the state has rolled back a rule requiring masks in restaurants, stores and other indoor environments, but since the Omicron variant peaked in mid-January, COVID-19 The number of cases decreased sharply.

“It’s very difficult to understand why you need a mask on an airplane, but not in a crowded bar or restaurant. In a packed sports arena. In a school full of kids; Nicholas Calio, CEO of the industry group Airlines for America. Said Wednesday in a letter to the CDC and the head of the Department of Health and Human Services. “In short, extending the mask mandate doesn’t make sense.”

The number of cases has increased slightly in recent weeks, and the number of cases confirmed daily nationwide has increased from about 25,000 to more than 30,000 per day. Over 85% of these cases are highly contagious BA.2 strains. These numbers can be underestimated, as many people are currently tested positive for home tests that have not been reported to public health agencies.

Severe illness and death tend to delay infection for several weeks. The CDC is waiting for signs of whether an increase in cases correlates with an increase in adverse consequences before announcing a less restrictive mask policy for travel.

A mid-March poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that Americans are evenly divided by adhering to the mask rules of transport.

In polls, 51% wanted the mandate to expire and 48% said it should be left alone. In other words, given the margin of error in polls, they are tied. Democrats overwhelmingly upheld the rule, and Republicans united further by opposed it. Vaccinated people and people in chronic health supported adhering to the rules, but the margins were small.

The airline imposed its own mask obligation in 2020, when the Trump administration refused to take action. The union on behalf of flight attendants, who once supported the rules of masks, is now refusing to take a position because members are divided on this issue.

It is unclear whether abolishing this rule will make people more or less likely to travel by plane or subway.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian said some people would start flying without wearing a mask, while others would stop flying when they removed the mask. He called both groups “fringes” and predicted that many would continue to wear masks even if the rules were removed.

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David Koenig reported from Dallas. Mike Stobbe, AP Health Writer in New York, contributed to this report.

CDC will extend travel mask requirements to May 3 with rising COVID – reporter online

Source link CDC will extend travel mask requirements to May 3 with rising COVID – reporter online

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