Over the past week, Federal Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle of Florida, and yes, she was appointed by Donald Trump, struck down the mask mandate put in place by the CDC to keep Americans in masks while in airports and on other forms of mass transit.
This mandate being struck down was not done so based on science or medical data. It was based on a Federal Judge claiming that the CDC which is an important medical agency that makes decisions on public health measures. Which are particularly critical during a global pandemic had exceeded its authority in writing the mask mandate.
Right now, the BA.2 strand of the Coronavirus has swept the nation and that has some public officials concerned that we are not done with the pandemic just yet.
The CDC responded to the end of the mask mandate as follows “It is the CDC’s continuing assessment that at this time an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health.”
The agency believes they are within their legal authority to protect public health. The ruling is believed to now hamstring the CDC’s ability to make decisions on public health matters in the future. Now there is confusion among the public, as there were folks mid flight when the mandate was lifted where pilots went across the air aboard flights and told people that masks were no longer required.
You can literally be in one city and need to wear a mask at the airport and get onto a plane where you no longer need a mask then fly into another city where you will need to wear a mask at the airport, and then go into the city and go into establishments without masks.
Due to all of this confusion now Americans are not only unsure about the protection of masks, but they are also skeptical of the research of the CDC, and what type of job they are doing to protect people during the pandemic.
The White House is going to challenge the ruling by Judge Mizell which could end up in a tough Supreme Court fight. In the short term the Biden Administration could take the battle to a federal appeals court to try to put a stay order in for the mask mandate which would then put the CDC’s order back in place and add to an already big pile of confusion.
The BA.2 variant of Covid has become the most prevalent strain of the disease in the United States. Things to know about BA.2 from Dr Leana S. Wen, one of the Nation’s leading public health experts.
- BA.2 is highly contagious. Analyses from Britain suggest its growth rate is 80% faster than the original Omicron strain.
- BA.2 does not cause more serious disease, as compared to BA.1 (original Omicron)
- Vaccination does provide adequate protection from BA.2, it has not mutated enough to evade vaccines, or the immunity provided from prior infection.
- If you were infected with Omicron and are vaccinated, you are likely well protected against BA.2.
If you’re traveling soon, (I am) I would advise to still wear a mask on planes, trains and while riding any form of mass transit, as the CDC still recommends this as well. Particularly if you are immunocompromised or are unvaccinated. The best protection from all the strains of Covid-19 is still the vaccine, so if you want to be protected and vacation with much worry, get vaccinated and boosted and wear your mask as we have for the last two years as an extra layer of protection. Please understand the mask mandate was struck down on a legal technicality, one that may not hold up in court, the CDC strongly recommends you keep your masks on, and so do I, because I will as I’m packing for a weeklong trip myself.