Justice Department will appeal mask ruling if CDC asks

Coronavirus

(NewsNation) — The Department of Justice will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that invalidated the nationwide mask mandate on public transit if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes that request.

The DOJ released a statement Tuesday saying they and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disagree with the court’s decision.

“The Department 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,” the statement reads. “That is an important authority the Department will continue to work to preserve.”

The statement was released a day after a Florida judge ended the sweeping mandate, which required face coverings on planes, trains and in transit hubs.

Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said the CDC would continue to assess public health conditions, and if the agency determines a mandate is necessary for public health, the Justice Department would file an appeal.

You can read the full statement below.

The Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) disagree with the district court’s decision and will appeal, subject to CDC’s conclusion that the order remains necessary for public health. The Department 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 to work to preserve.

On April 13, 2022, before the district court’s decision, CDC explained that the order would remain in effect while it assessed current public health conditions, and that the Transportation Security Administration would extend its directive implementing the order until May 3 to facilitate CDC’s assessment.

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

Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley

The potential appeal comes as a new NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll found that Americans would largely support renewed mask mandates, vaccine mandates and even new stay-home orders, in the event of another COVID-19 surge.

The poll was conducted Sunday and Monday. Recent mask rule changes and lifting of travel restrictions did not factor into the polling.

Cases are beginning to rise nationally once again, caused by a mutant called BA.2 that’s thought to be about 30% more contagious. The new variant prompted a renewed lockdown in Shanghai that’s resulted in global supply chain issues and severe food shortages. Closer to home, Philadelphia became the first major U.S. city to reinstate its indoor mask mandate Monday after reporting a sharp increase in coronavirus infections.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that 90% of all COVID-19 cases in the US were made up of the highly contagious omicron sub-variant, and Reuters reports the seven-day moving average of cases in the U.S. stood at 34,972 as of April 16, up 23.4% from the previous week.

Read the full poll here.

An earlier version of this story indicated the DOJ was definitely appealing. It has been updated to reflect their deference to the CDC.

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