The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended the mask mandate that was due to expire today, April 18, 2022, pushing the mandate a further 15 days to May 3, 2022. Today, a federal judge in Florida ruled the mandate is unlawful.
US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled that US President Biden’s mandate was unlawful because it overstepped the authority of the presidential administration by violating administrative law.
A group that opposes public health mandates, the Health Freedom Defense Fund, and two individuals filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration in July 2021 stating that wearing masks on an airplane increased their anxiety and panic attacks. The Health Freedom Defense Fund was formed in 2020 by Leslie Manookian, a former Wall Street business executive. The group has filed 12 lawsuits solely against vaccine and mask mandates.
Mizelle, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump in 2020, claimed the CDC failed to adequately explain why it wanted to extend the mask mandate and that it also did not allow the public to comment which she said is a federal procedure for issuing new rules.
The result is that the CDC’s mask mandate for airplanes and public transit has been overturned.
So does this mean as of today, you don’t have to wear a mask on airplane?
Not just yet.
The Justice Department could file an appeal in order to try and block the federal judge’s ruling. So until the final outcome is known, airline passengers will still need to mask up.
There has been an increasing number of COVID-19 infections in America due to the highly contagious new omicron BA.2 subvariant. At the end of last month, the CDC had stated that because of this, it would try to extend the mask mandate so that the effects of the new variant could be monitored as more time is needed to assess whether the rise of infections will have an impact on the capacity of hospitals in the US.
The BA.2 subvariant has surged across Africa, Europe, and Asia, currently accounting for nearly 55 percent of all new SARS-CoV-2 infections in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.