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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) restated their recommendation that Americans aged 2 and older wear masks or respirators in indoor areas of public transportation and transportation hubs.
In a statement, the agency also encouraged employees and operators of the hubs to support mask-wearing by all people.
“CDC continues to recommend that all people—passengers and workers, alike—properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator in indoor public transportation conveyances and transportation hubs to provide protection for themselves and other travelers in these high volume, mixed population settings. We now have a range of tools we need to protect ourselves from the impact of COVID-19, including access to high-quality masks and respirators for all who need them,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
Passengers wait in line at the security checkpoint at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
“Additionally, it is important for all of us to protect not only ourselves, but also to be considerate of others at increased risk for severe COVID-19 and those who are not yet able to be vaccinated. Wearing a mask in indoor public transportation settings will provide protection for the individual and the community,” she said.
The CDC said its recommendation is based on the “currently available data, including an understanding of domestic and global epidemiology, circulating variants and their impact on disease severity and vaccine effectiveness, current trends in COVID-19 Community Levels within the United States and projections of COVID-19 trends in the coming months.”
While COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have fallen substantially since last winter’s surge of the highly transmissible omicron variant, infections have recently rebounded in major U.S. cities.
New York City recently raised its COVID-19 alert level to “medium,” and the state’s health department – citing data from April 29 – said that the number of accumulated new cases per 100,000 people in the city over the last seven days moved up to 209.02
Across the U.S. the Johns Hopkins coronavirus resource center said there have been 61,743 cases and 745 new deaths in the last day.
Last month, a court ruling struck down a national mask mandate on public transportation.
The Department of Justice appealed the ruling at the request of the CDC.
The status of the appeal is unclear.
The CDC says wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator protects not only the wearer, but the people around them, and is most beneficial in crowded or poorly ventilated locations.