CDC defends decision to require masks on mass transit, despite GOP backlash

Biden signed an executive order to require mask mandates on all public transportation when he took office. The TSA extended it until Sept. 13.
N95 mask
N95 mask
(Noam Galai/Getty Images)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday defended its decision to require masks on all public transportation, as some congressional Republicans pushing to end the orders.

"We mask not just to protect ourselves," Marty Cetron, director for the agency's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, told Reuters. "We mask because it's the way we take care and express our concern for each other."

Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul introduced legislation Wednesday to repeal the COVID-19 mask requirement. The bill would prevent the federal government from imposing a mask mandate on any "conveyance" or "transportation hub."

"In a free county people will evaluate their personal risk factors and are smart enough to ultimately make medical decisions like wearing a mask themselves,” Paul said.

The Libertarian-minded senator introduced the measure amid a recent increase in case numbers as a result of the emergence of the contagious delta variant, after a sharp, months-long drop as a result of vaccines.

The mask mandate imposed by President Biden when he first came to office was supposed to run out in May, however the Transportation Security Administration chose to extend it until Sept. 13.