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Biden administration will appeal ruling that lifted Covid mask mandate on travel

An American Airlines worker assists passengers Don Wolfe and Sarah Curtis, of Huntsville, Alabama, after the Biden administration announced it would no longer enforce a U.S. coronavirus disease (COVID-19) mask mandate on public transportation, following a federal judge’s ruling that the 14-month-old directive was unlawful, at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, April 19, 2022.Kevin Lamarque | ReutersThe Biden administration said Tuesday it will likely appeal a federal judge’s ruling that struck down Covid-19 mask mandates on planes and other forms of public transportation.”The Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) disagree with the district court’s decision and will appeal,” the DOJ said in a statement, “subject to CDC’s conclusion that the order remains necessary for public health.””If CDC concludes that a mandatory order remains necessary for the public’s health after that assessment, the Department of Justice will appeal the district court’s decision,” the DOJ said.The Transportation Security Administration said it would stop enforcing mask rules hours after U.S. Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa, Florida, ruled Monday that the CDC overstepped its bounds when it mandated face coverings on planes, trains, buses and other forms of public transportation.Mizelle was appointed to the federal bench in 2020 by former President Donald Trump.The CDC, meanwhile, maintained its recommendation that people wear masks on public transit.The DOJ said Tuesday that it “continues to believe that the order requiring masking in the transportation corridor is a valid exercise of the authority Congress has given CDC to protect the public health.””That is an important authority the Department will continue the work to preserve,” the agency’s statement said.Mizelle’s ruling came days after the CDC decided it would keep its mask mandate in place until at least May 3 while it assessed the current threat of Covid infections on hospital capacity. Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths have dropped drastically in the U.S. in comparison with the winter months, when the omicron variant fueled a massive surge in infections. The CDC has recently loosened some of its other health guidelines in accordance with those trends.This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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