NECESSARY IN PUBLIC TRANSPORT | The CDC recommends continuing to use the masks. (Foto/EFE)
DECISION OF JUDGE THAT CUT DOWN THE MANDATE APPEALED
Washington / Efe Agency
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) will appeal a court ruling that has annulled the order to wear a mask on public transport in the country. The DOJ’s goal is to restore that measure. The DOJ spokesman, Anthony Coley, announced that this federal agency will appeal the case before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Atlanta, Georgia, and with a conservative majority.
The DOJ responds to the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assured that they still consider necessary the mandate that, until April 18, required the wearing of face masks on planes, trains or buses. “The CDC continues to believe that an order requiring the use of face coverings on indoor modes of transportation remains necessary for public health at this time,” the CDC said.
CDC claim their authority
According to the CDC, they have “legal authority to protect public health.” However, Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a federal judge in Florida, struck down the mandate and accused the CDC of “exceeding” its powers. Following Kimball Mizelle’s ruling, U.S. authorities and airlines immediately stopped requiring face masks to be worn on planes and other forms of public transportation, as well as at airports and stations.
Before the judge’s decision, the CDC had extended until May 3 the mandatory use of masks in all public transports, due to the resurgence of the covid-19 pandemic caused by the BA.2 subvariant. Despite the DOJ’s appeal announcement, the Florida judge’s ruling remains in effect and at least for now there is no obligation to wear face masks in those places, although the CDC recommends that they still be used.
Happiness and anxiety
The court decision has generated happiness among many Americans. Yet many people have also expressed anxiety about the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on vulnerable or immunosuppressed people. Currently, covid-19 still kills about 425 people a day in the United States. Some supporters of the mask mandate had warned that appealing the decision could backfire.
These people explain that the higher courts have conservative majorities and could issue rulings that constrain the CDC’s authority in the future. “It’s tempting to appeal, because this decision is ridiculous, but we have to preserve the ability of the CDC to act in case we have a big outbreak of cases in the fall or winter,” said former White House adviser on covid-19, Andy Slavitt, to The New York Times.