CDC asks Biden’s DoJ to appeal court’s decision to lift mask mandates on planes

Americans may be experiencing a bit of whiplash as the Biden administration reacts to a ruling by a federal judge earlier this week that struck down the mask mandate for mass transit.

Celebration – and then confusion – followed the decision Monday by a federal judge in Florida as public transit systems and many airlines lifted mask-wearing requirements for passengers. But not long after, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement that it “continues to recommend” mask-wearing, and has asked that Biden’s Justice Department move ahead to get Americans back in masks while flying and on public transportation.

“It is CDC’s continuing assessment that at this time an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health. CDC will continue to monitor public health conditions to determine whether such an order remains necessary. CDC believes this is a lawful order, well within CDC’s legal authority to protect public health,” the agency announced Wednesday.

The CDC noted that it has “asked DOJ to proceed with an appeal” of the court’s ruling, contending that “wearing masks is most beneficial in crowded or poorly ventilated locations, such as the transportation corridor.”

Almost immediately after the CDC press release went out, the Justice Department filed an appeal in federal court in Tampa.

The move was being made “in light of today’s assessment by the CDC that an order requiring masking in the transportation corridor remains necessary to protect the public health,” said Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

The latest on the administration’s stand on the mask mandate came after a time of confusion following the court decision on Monday as President Joe Biden had said “that’s up to them” when he was asked Tuesday if people should continue to wear masks on planes.

“People are not legally bound to wear masks,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday, though she noted the president continues to encourage traveling Americans to wear masks. “So, it is a point in time where it is up to people — it is their choice, in that regard.

The CDC’s latest statement and the head-spinning reversals on mask-wearing sparked plenty of reaction on Twitter.


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