Health

The Department of Justice puts the mask decision on appeal to the CDC

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services told POLITICO that “no decision has been made” on the appeal.

White House officials asked the Department of Justice for quick instructions on how to proceed after Monday’s Florida District Court ruling, said two people familiar with the hearing. Senior administration officials were in meetings throughout Tuesday to discuss the viability of a potential appeal, the two said. The White House declined to comment, but spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that “it usually takes a few days to consider and evaluate a possible appeal.”

Administration officials have been sending inconsistent signals publicly throughout the day. President Joe Biden looked ambivalent earlier on Tuesday, indicating that it is up to individuals to decide whether or not to continue wearing masks. But HHS Secretary Xavier Besera later told reporters in Las Vegas at the Neva event that the administration was “likely” to appeal the decision. The White House and the health agency did not respond to a request for comment.

The expanded internal debate has highlighted the difficulty of challenging the pandemic that the administration is trying to navigate as it balances the political risks of maintaining the mandate and the public health risks of removing it.

Personally, Biden officials are cautiously optimistic about corovirus trends: despite about 35,000 new cases a day, up from 40 percent at the beginning of the month, hospitalization remained unchanged during that period, according to the CDC. Agency, The statement did not specifically address whether the mandate was necessary for public health. Instead, he said he “continues to recommend that people wear masks on all closed public transport.”

Officials are still concerned about the consequences if the District 11 Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Florida, upholds the decision. This could be a politically embarrassing loss and set a precedent that could hamper future public health crisis response efforts, said one expert on the issue.

The Court of Appeals is made up of a majority of judges appointed by Republican presidents, including a majority of judges appointed by former President Donald Trump, and it is unclear which of these three judges will hear the legal challenge.

“The main issue here is [judge’s] “The statement that this is not within the authority of the CDC is untrue,” said George Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “If there is a way to challenge it legally so that it shows that it is clearly within the authority of the CDC, then I think the federal government should do it.”

The administration is concerned about whether premature mitigation measures are premature amid new sub-variants and an increase in several cases, including among the elite in Washington, said Biden’s four officials and insiders.

“There is no doubt that we are at a crossroads,” said one senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity and spoke openly about internal discussions. The official added that the White House wants to see if the increase in current cases will turn into an increase in hospitalization in two to four weeks. “Nobody knows yet whether hospitalization will increase, everyone is waiting for that.”

The CDC has been saying for months that hospitalization was a better indicator of the nation’s success in infections against Covid-19.

Officials extended the transport demand in part for another two weeks because they wanted to ensure that the decline in hospitalization trends would continue even against the backdrop of new sub-variants, two senior officials told POLITICO.

“We are really in a new transition phase. “However, a completely new version, which is completely different, could change that,” said one official. “These are purely educated predictions that are not guaranteed.”

The announcement of another highly contagious version of the coronavirus and earlier bugs about “independence” from the virus was sparked by only two new waves last summer, with officials worried about public confidence in the administration announcing a new phase of the pandemic.

Concerns are exacerbated by the fact that the administration is left with few tools to combat the pandemic.

In recent days, White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jaham has stressed the need to find ways to speed up the spread of antiviral pills, personally worrying that doctors are still very cautious in prescribing them, according to the person involved in the matter.

Pills have quickly become a major tool against the virus, although this supply is also limited as Congress has not appropriated a new round of funding. The administration still owes Pfizer about $ 5 billion for the pills it has already purchased and will not be able to add to that stock until it receives more money.

Although the administration may appeal the decision, some policy experts are questioning the restoration of the national mask mandate, which has already been mired in political debate as officials try to move the country out of the state of emergency.

“I do not know how you can go back, how you can change that without an uprising,” Andrew Sweet, director of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Covid-19 response and recovery, told POLITICO.

The Biden administration’s strategy for this case will have an impact on future public health battles, said Celine Gonder, an infectious disease expert who served on Biden’s Covid-19 Advisory Board during the transition period and is now a senior staff member and editor on public health issues. Kaiser Family Foundation and Kaiser Health News.

“On the one hand, they want to retain the powers of the CDC to re-exercise if there is another crisis,” Gonder said. “On the other hand, they may think that it is too risky and that if it all goes to the Supreme Court, this Supreme Court will not uphold the CDC’s authority to request masks.”

Without a backup copy of federal health officials, it is unclear how many state and local health departments will adopt the mask policy alone. Some cities, such as Philadelphia, have reinstated mask mandates for counting cases, while others, such as Seattle, continue to recommend high-quality masks indoors.

“We are moving towards mixed requirements. The big question is whether we can achieve effective national containment if there is a worse growth or option,” Mark McClellan, FDA Bush-era commissioner and CMS administrator, told POLITICO.

The Department of Justice puts the mask decision on appeal to the CDC

Source link The Department of Justice puts the mask decision on appeal to the CDC

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