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White House Blocked C.D.C. From Mandating Masks on Public Transit

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Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drafted a sweeping order last month requiring all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public and commercial transportation in the United States, but it was blocked by the White House, according to two federal health officials.

The order would have been the toughest federal mandate to date aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, which continues to infect more than 40,000 Americans a day. The officials said that it was drafted under the agency’s “quarantine powers” and that it had the support of the secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II, but the White House Coronavirus Task Force, led by Vice President

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White House Blocked C.D.C. From Requiring Masks on Public Transportation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drafted a sweeping order last month requiring all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public and commercial transportation in the United States, but it was blocked by the White House, according to two federal health officials.

The order would have been the toughest federal mandate to date aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, which continues to infect more than 40,000 Americans a day. The officials said that it was drafted under the agency’s “quarantine powers” and that it had the support of the secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II, but the White House Coronavirus Task Force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, declined to even discuss it.

The two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment, said the order would have required face coverings on airplanes,

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White House blocked February extension of CDC ‘no sail’ cruise ship order: reports

The White House blocked a February extension of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “no sail” order for cruise ships, The New York Times and Axios reported.

CDC Director Robert Redfield reportedly recommended an extension of the current order, which is set to expire on Wednesday, during a coronavirus task force meeting on Tuesday. 

But a senior health official told the Times and sources told Axios that Redfield was ultimately overruled as the administration plans to extend the order until Oct. 31 and then allow ships to sail. 

Public health officials have reportedly said the rejection of Redfield’s recommendation is politically motivated to avoid upsetting the cruise industry in Florida, a swing state ahead of the presidential election that a number of polls show is a neck-and-neck race between Trump and Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip

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White House Blocked C.D.C. Order to Keep Cruise Ships Docked

Dr. Stephen Ostroff, a former acting commissioner of the F.D.A., who serves on the Healthy Sail group, said they have recommended that cruise passengers be tested before arriving at the ship, and then again before boarding.

“The one thing that you want to make sure of is that the virus doesn’t get on there in the first place,” Dr. Ostroff said.

Dr. Ostroff acknowledged that passengers who are exposed to the virus en route to the ship would not necessarily test negative, but could be infectious. He also said that the group’s other recommendations, such as allowing fewer passengers, enforcing mask wearing and installing improved air filtration systems, aim to limit the spread of the virus on a ship should an infected passenger board.

Brian Morgenstern, the White House deputy press secretary, denied that the administration’s cruise ship plans were politically motivated. “The president, the vice president and the task

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