CDC Recommends Face Masks in All Public Transportation Settings | Health News

By Robin Foster and E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporters

(HealthDay)

TUESDAY, Oct. 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Seeking to slow the spread of coronavirus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended on Monday that face masks be worn by everyone in all public transportation settings.

That includes both passengers and people working in stations, terminals and airports across the country, CBS News reported.

So far, the Trump administration has not issued any national mandate on face coverings, instead leaving that decision to state and local leaders.

In the new interim guidance, the CDC called masks “one of the most effective strategies available for reducing COVID-19 transmission.” Wide use of masks helps protect those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 as well as workers who frequently come into close contact with other people in airports, bus terminals, train stations and seaports, the guidance stated.

Most U.S. airlines, Amtrak and many other transport companies already require passengers and staff to wear masks, CBS News reported. The CDC urged passengers and workers on all airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-shares to follow suit.

For months, research has shown that face masks help curb the spread of COVID-19. In the new guidance, the CDC said everyone “should wear masks that cover both the mouth and nose when waiting for, traveling on, or departing from public [transportation]. People should also wear masks at an airport, bus or ferry terminal, train or subway station, seaport, or similar area that provides transportation.”

The guidance also urges transport operators to “refuse boarding to anyone not wearing a mask and require all people onboard, whether passengers or employees, to wear masks for the duration of travel,” with exceptions for eating, drinking and medical disorders that prohibit mask wearing.

Reopened NYC schools not seeing surge in COVID cases

Three weeks after becoming the first big urban area to reopen public schools since the pandemic began, New York City is not seeing a feared surge in cases among students and staff.

Instead, health officials are seeing a surprisingly small number of COVID-19 cases, The New York Times reported.

Of the more than 15,000 staff members and students tested randomly in the first week of its testing regimen, the city has gotten back results for close to 11,000. There were only 18 positives: 13 staff members and five students, the Times reported. Even better, when officials put mobile testing units at schools near the Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods that have had new outbreaks, only four positive cases surfaced in more than 3,300 tests conducted since the last week of September, the newspaper said.

New York City is facing fears of a second wave of the virus fueled by local spikes in Brooklyn and Queens, and official have closed more than 120 public schools as a precaution, the Times reported.

Still, the sprawling system of 1,800 public schools is a bright spot as the city tries to recover from a pandemic that has killed thousands and weakened

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