White House Blocked CDC Mask Mandate For Public Transportation: Report

The White House barred a mask mandate for public transportation drafted last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The New York Times reported Friday.

The CDC planned to issue an order requiring that face masks be worn by  passengers and employees on planes, trains, buses and subways — and at transit networks, including at airports, train stations and bus depots — two federal health officials told the newspaper.

The order, reportedly drafted under the agency’s quarantine powers, was supported by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, according to the Times. But Mike Pence’s Coronavirus Task Force refused to discuss the issue, and its sign-off was required before such a mandate could go into effect, sources said. The administration’s position was reportedly to allow localities to set their own regulations. 

Masks are considered by scientists and medical experts to be one of the most effective ways to protect people from transmission of the coronavirus.

“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in an editorial this summer in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus — particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.” 

The Trump administration, on the other hand, is proving to be ineffective in battling the coronavirus that has already killed more than 210,000 Americans. 

More than 35 cases may have been triggered a week ago at a Rose Garden event when President Donal Trump announced the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The gathering, where almost no one wore a mask or observed social distancing guidelines, has been called a superspreader event by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

Health officials in Minnesota, meanwhile, have reported that nine people who attended a Trump campaign rally last month in Bemidji have also tested positive. Again, few wore masks or observed social distancing guideline to help stem the spread of COVID.

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