Meanwhile, Japan becomes first major country to officially recognize covid poses same threat as flu.
Bitterly clinging pandemic power, the Biden administration is now appealing a previous ruling from a federal judge that the government didn’t have the right to impose a federal mask mandate on public transportation.
The Justice Department on Tuesday argued that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had the legal authority to require travelers to wear masks on planes, trains and buses to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals, the Washington Examiner reported.
The appeal comes nine months after a Florida judge struck down the federal mask mandate, ruling that the CDC failed to follow proper rule-making procedures.
A lawyer for the plaintiffs in the original lawsuit, including the Health Freedom Defense Fund, said the Justice Department’s decision to wait to appeal shows a lack of urgency in the matter.
“This appeal is not about an urgent matter of public health. If the mask order had been such an urgent matter of public health, you would have expected CDC to have applied for a stay to the district court’s ruling,” an attorney representing the Health Freedom Defense Fund said, according to the Examiner.
To the joy of nearly everyone who travels by air, a federal judge in Florida struck down Biden’s federal mask mandate last spring. The ruling almost immediately led to all major U.S. airlines lifting their mask requirements for domestic flights.
It also came hard on the heels of Biden saying the “pandemic is over.”
‘The pandemic is over,’ Biden said during a 60 Minutes interview in September. ‘We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it.’
While walking through the Detroit Auto Show for his pre-taped CBS interview, Biden said: ‘If you notice, no one’s wearing a mask, everybody seems to be in pretty good shape.’
Meanwhile, Japan will sensibly start considering Covid the equivalent of the seasonal flu.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced on Friday that Covid would be reclassified to disease category five from the current level two.
In practical terms, it ditches a recommendation to wear masks in indoor public spaces and ends the need for infected people and close contacts to self-isolate.
But symbolically, it shows how major countries are finally learning to live with Covid rather than treating it like an immediate public health emergency.
The new classification in Japan – which will kick in in Spring – recommends patients only to wear masks indoors if symptomatic – as opposed to the general recommendation for everyone currently in place.
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.