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Justice Department Seeks To Reinstate Mask Mandate On Public Transportation

BOSTON (CBS) - The CDC wants to bring back the mask mandate on public transportation. On Wednesday, the Department of Justice said it plans to appeal a federal judge's decision to strike down the nationwide public transit mask mandate.

The appeal was requested by the Centers for Disease Control. "It is CDC's continuing assessment that at this time an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health," the agency said.

For now, masks are still optional on the MBTA and at Logan Airport.

Tufts Medical Center Epidemiologist Shira Doron says mask mandates have not had the impact on COVID case numbers public health officials hoped for.

"It's not likely that having or not having a mandate just in transportation is going to make a population level difference," Doron said. "I feel like the mask mandate has been providing a false sense of security where I would much rather see us educate people about how to effectively protect themselves."

Many experts believe the White House's appeal isn't so much about getting this mask mandate reinstated, but about the CDC's power to make rules in the future.

"And I think that it's going to be really important for this next phase of the pandemic to establish exactly what authority CDC has, local boards of health have, state health departments have," Doron said.

A nationwide Associated Press poll found that 56% of Americans prefer requiring masks on public transportation including trains and planes.

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