Why The CDC May Extend Mask Mandates On Planes And Public Transportation

The number of COVID-19 cases might be dropping on a national level, but more than a dozen states are witnessing an increase in cases, per CBS News. The omicron subvariant BA.2 makes up about 72% of the cases reported in the US and around 86% of the cases reported worldwide. While this variant is more transmissible than any other variant, the good news is that it is not as severe as other variants, according to US News and World Report.

The rise in cases has raised some concern among experts and officials, which has led to a reinstatement of mask mandates in some instances. For example, the city of Philadelphia brought back mask mandates to slow the spread of the virus. Some universities, including Columbia University in New York, Georgetown in Washington, D.C., and Johns Hopkins University in Maryland have also reinstated mask requirements, CBS News reports. Soon, some government agencies may also follow suit.

The federal mask mandate for public transportation will expire soon

The mask mandate for public transportation, including planes, trains, and buses, is set to expire on April 18. If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that they stay in place, however, they most likely will, NBC News reports. White House's new Covid czar Ashish Jha told the network that extending the mandate was "on the table," adding that the decision would be based on information received from experts in the field. Jha said that this decision was a collective one, based at least in part on what the CDC decides. Jha added that CDC Director Rochelle Walensky would make a recommendation based on the same information.

The government has extended the mask mandates several times since February 2021 when they were first put into place. Jha said the decision to extend the rules would likely be announced in a few days.