The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the mandate for wearing face masks on public transportation or flights will stay in place until at least May 3.
In order to do more thorough research on the omicron subvariant BA.2, health officials decided to prolong the nationwide requirement, which was supposed to end on April 18th, for two more weeks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated, “CDC will continue to monitor COVID-19 levels, in our communities, nationally, and abroad to provide the most up-to-date guidance to keep travelers safe and healthy.”
Currently, the BA.2 variation of the omicron virus accounts for more than 85 percent of COVID cases in the United States, representing an increase of almost 80 percent over the initial omicron variant that was responsible for the winter spike.
Officials with the World Health Organization said in a statement on the subvariant issued in February that although BA.2 may be more transmissible than the main omicron variant, the gap between the two is not as big as the difference in virulence between the omicron and the delta variant.
The WHO also said that, “even though BA.2 sequences are increasing in proportion to other Omicron sublineages, there has been a reported decline in overall cases around the world.”
Studies to determine the subvariant’s potency and risk of reinfection are ongoing.
People in many counties in the Bay Area, like Santa Clara and Contra Costa, have been infected with the subvariant.