The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials' chief medical officer tells CNN that travel mask mandates should continue — at least for a little longer until the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more data on the spread of the BA.2 subvariant.
On Monday, a federal judge in Florida struck down the Biden administration’s nationwide mask mandate for airplanes and other public transportation, and the mandate is no longer in effect while the ruling is reviewed. Last week, the CDC extended this mask mandate through May 3.
"We think that mask-wearing on interstate transportation is still an important intervention that's worth continuing," said Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO).
"What the Centers for Disease Control has stated was that they had some studies and some data that they expected were going to be coming available in the next couple of weeks that would allow them to make a more definitive decision about this," Plescia said Tuesday. "It would have been sensible just to wait a couple more weeks and see, do we have a little more information here? Can we make a decision that's more science-based? And that might have been a decision that we could scale back — I don't know — but it seems a little imprudent to not have waited."
Plescia added, "The biggest concern is, we want people to be safe and we're concerned that we're not through the pandemic yet as much as people want to be, and (Covid-19) rates are starting to tick back up."