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.”
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“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.