“Trump appointed 234 federal judges,” he added, “and if you end up there or in the Supreme Court, you could really hurt your ability to respond to the pandemic in the future.”
But others spoke out strongly in favor of an appeal.
“What worries me is the fact that this judge is saying that the CDC does not have the authority to protect the health of people in America as they see fit,” said Dr. Rich Besser, a former acting director of the CDC. that if the ruling is in effect, it “would be really damaging because when you go to the next event, you have this ruling there and it hasn’t been contested.”
Politically, support for mask mandates has fallen in opinion polls as it has become clear that healthy people who have been vaccinated and boosted — as well as those who have not been vaccinated but survived a Covid-19 attack — generally have a lower risk of experiencing masks. severe or life-threatening symptoms if they become infected.
“The country clearly wants to move on,” said David Axelrod, a Democratic strategist who served as President Barack Obama’s senior adviser. “Mandatory masking is a fleeting issue. So my instinct is that the path of least resistance would be to resign, because the clock is running out fast anyway.”
But some people remain strongly in favor of such mandates. They have pointed to the continuing serious risk that any infection poses to immunocompromised people despite vaccination, and to the fact that very young children – although they are less likely to have significant symptoms – are not eligible for vaccination.
Monday’s ruling surprised and frustrated White House officials, two senior officials said. But on Tuesday, when travelers aboard planes were instructed by pilots to unmask and passengers aboard transit systems became mask-free, the Biden administration failed to draw up a detailed plan to challenge the ruling, even as public health experts warned the government’s the CDC to prevent the spread of a contagious virus.
Within the CDC, officials believed their most recent extension of the mask mandate was reasonable, to give them time to review the evidence and make an informed decision about whether to continue or not.
“CDC scientists had asked for 15 days to make a more data-driven sustainable decision,” said Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the White House’s new coronavirus response coordinator. wrote on Twitter† “We should have given it to them. But I will continue to follow CDC guidelines and mask on airplanes.”
Katie Rogers reporting contributed.