Apr 11, 2022 - Health

Biden official: Mask mandate for airplanes could be extended

Extending the federal transportation mask mandate that applies to airplanes, buses and trains is "absolutely on the table," Ashish Jha, the White House's new COVID-19 response coordinator, said Monday on the Today Show.

Why it matters: The transportation mask mandate was extended last month but is currently set to expire on April 18.

What they're saying: Jha stressed that the decision to extend the transportation mandate lies with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky.

  • "I know the CDC is working on developing a scientific framework for how to answer that," Jha said of the potential extension. "We're going to see that framework come out, I think, in the next few days."
  • "This is a CDC decision, and I think it is absolutely on the table," he said.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases have been rising in a number of states due to the spread of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.

  • However, Jha cautioned that he was not "overly concerned" by the trend.
  • "The good news is we're coming off of some very low infection numbers. Hospitalizations right now are the lowest they have been in the entire pandemic. So we've got to watch this very carefully ... But I don't think this is a moment where we have to be excessively concerned."
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