CDC extends mask mandate for public transportation by two weeks

Updated: Apr. 14, 2022 at 10:00 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is extending the mask mandate on public transportation from April 18 to May 3.

This extension is for the CDC to have more time to gather information on the newest Omicron sub-variant, BA.2, which makes up about 85% of the cases in the United States today.

“The 14-day average nationwide has seen about a 33 percent increase and is concomitant with a time period in which we know that Omicron sub-variant BA.2 is causing the predominant number of cases,” said Dr. Rambod Rouhbakhsh with Hattiesburg Clinic.

Some locals do not understand the extension for public travel, especially when masks are not required in places throughout the Pine Belt.

“I honestly don’t think is very necessary because, in restaurants, anything I take my kids to, none of us have to wear masks for any of that,” said Covington County resident Olivia Cross. “You go shop and you don’t wear masks, so I really feel like it’s pointless on an airplane.”

According to Rouhbakhsh, the United States and the United Kingdom have had very similar COVID spikes. Though the BA.2 variant did not make for a large spike in the UK, he says the U.S, cannot say it will be the same here.

“We’re really in the acute phase of the pandemic. We’re nowhere near an endemic state, so we just don’t know how it’s going to act,” said Rouhbakhsh. “By definition, when it becomes an endemic, it is a predictable number of cases in a specific location. We’re nowhere near that point just yet.”

The CDC also realigned its travel health notice system. More information can be found on their website.

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