Despite last month’s court ruling that struck down the national mask mandate, the CDC reissued its recommendation for masks on planes and public transportation. They recommend that Americans ages two and up should wear a well-fitting mask on public transportation, including planes. The CDC cited the current spread of COVID-19 and projections of future COVID-19 trends.
For months, TSA enforced a mask requirement for passengers and workers. And the government continuously extended the mandate, with the latest one set to expire on May 3rd. However, a federal judge in Florida struck down that mandate on April 18th. Quickly after the decision was made, multiple major U.S. airlines dropped their mask rule for workers and passengers. In addition, TSA stated that it would no longer enforce the mandate for public transportation. Shortly after the federal judge’s ruling, the Justice Department appealed the decision. As of now, CDC officials declined to comment on the status of the appeal. DOJ officials did not immediately respond to a request for information.
Cases and hospitalizations are on the rise again across the U.S. The new, more transmissible variant BA.2 began driving cases last month, officially making it the dominant variant in the country. It is more transmissible than Omicron BA.2.12.1, first identified in the U.S. in February. Data today shows that BA.2.12.1 makes up 36.5% of all newly-sequenced positive COVID-19 tests. Ultimately revealing it made a close to 100% jump in the past two weeks.