Twenty-five months after the COVID-19 virus changed how we lived our lives, we still argue over handling it. While some people choose to use extreme caution regarding the virus, others throw caution to the wind. On Monday, the latter group received a vital boost after a judge struck down the CDC’s mask mandate. The ruling effectively ended the requirement for passengers and crews to wear masks during travel.
Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle Strikes Down Mask Mandate
Just a week after the CDC extended the mandate, Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle overturned the decision. Mizelle said the mandate was unlawful. It exceeded the statutory authority of the CDC because its implementation violated administrative law. In her 59-page ruling, Mizelle wrote the following.
“It is indisputable that the public has a strong interest in combating the spread of COVID-19. In pursuit of that, the CDC issued the Mask Mandate. But the Mandate exceeded the CDC’s statutory authority, improperly invoked the good cause exception to notice and comment rulemaking, and failed to adequately explain its decisions.”
Response to the Decision
Pandemic weary passengers on flights cheered when the news broke of the ending mandate. Social media buzzed with viral videos of the cabins filled with joyous claps and even celebratory music played over the intercoms. Pilots congratulated the passengers as the travelers engaged in one giant collective sigh of relief. But not everyone cheered the decision.
Some public health experts criticize the ruling, saying it is a premature action that puts people at risk. Maureen Miller, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, responded opposite the passengers when she heard the news. “We’re basically ensuring that infectious and susceptible people are together for a chunk of time, with no protection at all,” she said.
White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said Monday afternoon that it was a “disappointing” decision, and the Justice Department will make any determinations about a legal response. Love or hate the decision; the world continues to debate its approach to the pandemic. And the side wanting to move on gained some ground thanks to one judge’s decision.