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Federal officials weigh extending mask mandate for mass transportation

Federal officials are currently considering whether to renew the...

Posted: Apr 22, 2021 12:52 PM

Federal officials are currently considering whether to renew the transportation mask requirement that expires next month, an official familiar with the discussions told CNN.

The early February order from the Transportation Security Administration applies to airplanes, buses, trains and ferries, and transportation hubs like airports.

The agency is currently consulting with health experts, said the official, who declined to predict whether the order will be renewed or allowed to expire as scheduled on May 11.

TSA has received nearly 2,000 reports alleging violations from across the multiple modes of transportation, the official said. The agency disclosed in mid-February that it had received "fewer than 1,000" reports alleging non-compliance.

The agency has also reached the point of sending citations to alleged violators, the official said. The official could not say how many have been issued. There are multiple investigatory and review steps before a citation is ultimately issued.

Voices within the aviation industry that had pushed both the Biden and Trump administrations for such an order have called for it to be renewed. They said the Biden administration's order in February added teeth and consistency to a patchwork of local orders that applied to buildings like airports, and company policies requiring masks on airplanes and other vehicles.

"We do think it should maintain the mask mandate," Nick Calio, who leads the industry association Airlines for America, said at a Senate hearing on Wednesday. "It has helped considerably on airplanes and in airports."

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said the government can support her members enforcing the order by "making it very clear to the public" that masks remain a requirement.

Some governors have rescinded orders or allowed mask requirements in their states to expire. President Joe Biden has taken a different approach: Soon after taking office in January, he directed the TSA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Transportation Department, and other agencies to require masking.

At the Wednesday hearing, Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican who has been photographed not properly wearing a mask on aircraft, said passengers should do so "until the government changes the requirement."

"It does seem, though, sometime in the future that this thing needs to end," Wicker added.

Dr. Leonard Marcus, who has studied coronavirus transmission on airplanes at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told Wicker that the circulation of variants makes it difficult to say how long masks will be needed in enclosed spaces.

"For sure, when we're on the plane, when we're going through the airport buildings, when we're indoors, let's keep those masks on," Marcus said. "We want to make this crisis end as soon as possible."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 205030

Reported Deaths: 2730
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40113612
Washington26647247
Marion23258322
Clackamas18748234
Lane13772158
Jackson11420146
Deschutes993180
Umatilla851786
Linn550479
Klamath475377
Yamhill474779
Polk393755
Douglas378580
Malheur359763
Josephine352972
Benton323922
Jefferson235738
Coos215737
Columbia188629
Union148724
Wasco143429
Lincoln141221
Crook127423
Hood River121633
Morrow115016
Clatsop10268
Baker99215
Curry68510
Tillamook6604
Grant5477
Lake4667
Harney4149
Wallowa1945
Gilliam751
Sherman661
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 3801728

Reported Deaths: 63193
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124612924434
Riverside3013124618
San Bernardino2989764788
San Diego2812033770
Orange2726505103
Santa Clara1198942175
Kern1106041400
Sacramento1071991718
Fresno1027831720
Alameda893401285
Ventura815541028
San Joaquin744011432
Contra Costa70276810
Stanislaus631901068
Tulare49758849
Monterey43791419
San Mateo42604581
San Francisco37189555
Santa Barbara34572460
Solano33569266
Merced32253474
Sonoma30688323
Imperial28799741
Placer23345298
Kings23166247
San Luis Obispo21405261
Madera16586245
Santa Cruz16202208
Marin14170229
Yolo14118212
Shasta12580232
Butte12576194
El Dorado10339116
Napa998680
Sutter9614112
Yuba644850
San Benito609563
Lassen577524
Tehama571663
Nevada487875
Humboldt441546
Mendocino427450
Tuolumne418569
Amador372147
Lake355245
Glenn242527
Siskiyou238637
Colusa227918
Calaveras220056
Del Norte14488
Inyo143438
Mono12954
Plumas7356
Modoc5344
Mariposa4617
Trinity4165
Sierra1130
Alpine890
Unassigned330
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