CDC extends travel mask requirement to May 3 as COVID rises


The
mask mandate on public transportation will be around at least until the
beginning of May.

The Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention made the ruling on Wednesday due to
an uptick in COVID-19 infections stemming from the BA.2 subvariant. The
mandate was extended until May 3.

Some travelers at
Westchester County Airport who spoke with News 12 said they had no problem with
wearing a mask and called it “common sense.”

“When
I go to the stores and it’s crowded, I wear my mask. Nobody’s going to tell me
not to wear it,” said one commuter.

However,
airlines are not thrilled about the extension. Competing companies sent a
letter to President Joe Biden asking him to do away with the mandate. They say
it has turned their staff into a “mask police” – forcing them into arguments
with unruly passengers.

The
airlines say aircrafts have special protective air filtrations systems that
keeps the air clean.

There
has been a slight increase in cases in recent weeks, with daily confirmed cases
nationwide rising from about 25,000 per day to more than 30,000. More than 85%
of those cases are the highly contagious BA.2 strain. Those figures could be an
undercount since many people now test positive on at-home tests that are not
reported to public health agencies.

Severe
illnesses and deaths tend to lag infections by several weeks. The CDC is
awaiting indications of whether the increase in cases correlates to a rise in
adverse outcomes before announcing a less restrictive mask policy for travel.

AP
Wire Services contributed to this report.



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