Fauci Calls Mask Mandate Cancellation on Public Transit 'Unfortunate'
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
By Jay Clemons | Thursday, 21 April 2022 09:39 PM
Dr. Anthony Fauci wasn't happy with a Florida federal judge's landmark ruling from earlier this week, characterizing the cancellation of the Biden administration's national mask mandate for public transportation as "unfortunate."
Fauci, the chief White House medical adviser, who has been in the public eye for more than two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle's ruling "superseded the authority of the CDC."
In his response, however, Fauci also didn't account for how Americans now have tremendous access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
Or how the Biden administration still wants to repeal the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Title 42 health order at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Instead, Fauci seemingly wanted to preserve the status quo, even though COVID infections in the United States have precipitously declined in recent weeks.
"Well, I follow the CDC guidelines. And the CDC wanted to extend the mandate for the 15-day period beyond April 18, up to May 3. The reason they wanted to do that was they wanted to see what the pattern of infection is during this bit of a surge we're seeing," Fauci said in an interview with USA Today.
On Wednesday, the CDC instructed the Department of Justice to appeal the Trump-appointed judge's cancellation ruling, ending a mask mandate that had coincided with Joe Biden's presidency.
"To protect CDC's public health authority beyond the ongoing assessment announced last week, CDC has asked DOJ to proceed with an appeal in Health Freedom Defense Fund, Inc., et al., v. Biden, et al," the CDC said in a statement, while adding the previous mask mandate was "necessary for the public health."
The health agency added: "CDC will continue to monitor public health conditions to determine whether such an order remains necessary. CDC believes this is a lawful order, well within CDC's legal authority to protect public health."
This week, social media posters and TV viewers were treated to a number of videos and still photos, chronicling the precise moment in which various airlines dropped mask mandates for airplane travel — some of which occurred midflight.
The photos and videos showed a large number of maskless plane passengers, celebrating their newfound freedom of choice after nearly two years of flying with the mask obligation.
Of course, within this new freedom of choice, plane passengers can continue to weear a mask on flights.
This week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki had a tense session with the media, when pressed on the potential hypocrisy of rescinding Title 42 at the southern border, but also wanting to keep public transportation mask mandates in check.
There's also the reality of states abandoning mask mandates indoors, en masse.
Psaki shot back by saying, "I'm not a doctor, you're not a doctor, that I'm aware of," when addressing a question from Fox News reporter.