The federal Transportation Security Administration announced Thursday morning that Americans will need to keep wearing masks through at least April 18 on public transit, on planes, and in transit hubs.
While dropping the mask mandate for most indoor public spaces last month, California has left in place the mandate for high-risk settings like hospitals, long-term care facilities, doctors' offices, etc. And the mandate for public transit — which includes taxis, subways, buses, rideshare vehicles, and ferries, as well as stations and terminals — has remained in place all along at the federal level, even as local mandates have shifted over the last year.
But the TSA announced today that, on the CDC's recommendation, they will be keeping the masks mandate in place for transit and air travel until April 18. A previous recommendation had gone through March 18, and this reflects a one-month extension.
In the next month, the agency says, "CDC will work with government agencies to help inform a revised policy framework for when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor."
TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement, per NBC News, "now we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel as demonstrated by the rapid recovery of the travel industry."
At the national level, we are still recording between 25,000 and 50,000 new COVID cases each day, and between 1,500 and 2,000 new deaths. The American death toll from the pandemic reached 964,000 on Wednesday, and it's likely to hit 1 million in the coming months barring a steep drop-off in daily deaths.