“The CDC Mask Order remains in effect while CDC assesses the potential impact of the rise of cases ... TSA will extend the security directive and emergency amendment for 15 days, through May 3, 2022.”
The CDC in its statement announcing continued mask mandates for airplanes and public transit.
apr 14, 2022
- The CDC announced an extension of the mask mandate, which applies to both airplanes and general public transportation, until May 3; it had been set to expire on April 18.
- The reasoning? So that the CDC can assess "the potential impact of the rise of cases on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and healthcare system capacity" as the Omicron variant, particularly the BA.2 subvariant, continues to spread.
- What airlines have to say about it: Airline companies have been seeking to overturn the mandate, citing that effective air filters minimize transmission of the virus. Following the CDC's announcement on Wednesday, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said that "it's time to let the masks go and let people decide."
- Why This Matters: Traveler numbers for airlines have begun to resemble pre-pandemic levels — for example, 2,181,446 people traveled through TSA checkpoints on April 11, 2022, compared to 2,484,580 people on the same calendar day in 2019. This is the fifth mask mandate extension and comes at a time when the 7-day moving average of cases in the U.S. continues to increase.
- Something To Consider: There were about 500 reports of "unruly passengers" per month in 2021, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration — and most incidents had to do with masks. In-flight outbursts prior to the pandemic (based on data from 2014 - 2019) occurred only around 10 times each month.