White House reacts to judge’s mask mandate ruling

Morning In America

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NewsNation) — After months of debate, angry rhetoric on both sides and occasionally conflicting messages, a judge in Florida laid the mask mandate debate to rest, at least temporarily, by striking the mandate down.

That leaves the Biden administration, which had been slowly inching toward the concept of dropping the mandate, with the choice of whether to fight the judge’s ruling or let it stand unchallenged.

Press secretary Jen Psaki said, “This is obviously a disappointing decision. The CDC continues recommending wearing a mask in public transit. Right now, the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security are reviewing the decision, and the Department of Justice would make any decisions about litigation.

For months now, travelers have complained about mixed messaging from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, especially when it came to masks. One week it would seem that the masks were about to come off, then there would be a renewed mandate.

The Transportation Security Administration was quick to act, issuing a notice shortly after the ruling stating that the CDC’s public masking order was no longer in effect and agents would no longer be enforcing it. It reminded people that the CDC still recommended masks be worn in indoor environments, but that was largely drowned out by cheers from newly unmasked travelers.

The federal mask mandate had just last week been extended through May 3 after a new, highly contagious subvariant began driving case counts up nationwide. However, the new form of COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be more potent than previous variants, and so far most public health officers haven’t raised an alarm with the exception of Philadelphia, where a jump in case counts has a renewed mandate in effect.

For now, the Biden administration is pondering its options. It remains to be seen if the masks will stay off or if some new regulation will have travelers masking up again.

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