CDC official defends sweeping mask orders for mass transit: 'Part of our arsenal'

CDC official defends sweeping mask orders for mass transit: 'Part of our arsenal'
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A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official defended sweeping mask orders for public transportation as GOP lawmakers are pushing for the mandates to be revoked.

"Masks are really powerful and we should make sure they're part of our arsenal," Marty Cetron, director for the CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, said in an interview with Reuters.

"We mask not just to protect ourselves — we mask because it's the way we take care and express our concern for each other,” he added.

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Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election Hillicon Valley: Senate report finds major cyber shortcomings in federal agencies | Gig firms seek Mass. ballot question to classify workers as contractors | Blizzard's president steps down after workplace protests MORE (R-Ky.) introduced a measure to repeal mask mandates on public transportation, urging an end “to this nanny state mandate of requiring masks on public transportation.”

Current CDC guidance advises the use of masks for travelers, regardless of vaccine status, on any sort of public transportation.

The Federal Aviation Administration extended its mask requirement on airplanes until Sept. 13.

Masks on planes have been a point of contention, as three in every four unruly passenger complaints stem from passengers not obeying the mask rules.

"The truth is that the unvaccinated portion that's out there is extremely vulnerable," Cetron said.

"I get we're all just over this emotionally but I do think we will succeed together if we realize the virus is the enemy and it's not your fellow citizen or the person sitting next to you on a plane or a piece of cloth that you have to wear over your face," Cetron added.

The mandate is constantly being reviewed and can be changed at any moment, he added.

Republicans attempted to lift the mask mandate on public transportation back in June, but the effort was blocked by Democrats in the Senate.