WASHINGTON — The Biden administration announced Wednesday (April 13) that it will extend the nationwide mask requirement for public transit for another 15 days. The news comes as the administration monitors a rise in COVID-19 cases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the order was slated to expire on April 18 but will be extended until at least May 3. The extra time will enable the CDC to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant that now makes up most of the current COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
“In order to assess the potential impact the rise of cases has on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and health care system capacity, the CDC order will remain in place at this time,” the CDC said in a statement.
When the Transportation Security Administration extended the mask requirement in March, it stated that the CDC was hoping to implement a more flexible masking requirement. But, the BA.2 omicron subvariant has made the process more complicated.
COVID-19 cases have fallen greatly since the omicron variant peaked in mid-January, but the BA.2 omicron subvariant is causes cases to tick up across the U.S.