Simple Flying - Andrew Curran

The White House is refusing to rule out ending the airline mask mandate next week. The legal requirement to wear a face mask in airports and on airlines in the US expires on April 18 after numerous extensions. But White House officials are flagging the possibility of another extension.

"This is a decision the CDC is going to make," White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr Ashish Jha told NBC's Today on Monday. "Throughout the entire pandemic, we've wanted to make decisions based on evidence and science."

When pushed on the subject, Dr Jha confirmed a further public transport mask mandate extension wasn't out of the question. "It is absolutely on the table," he said.

With the current mask mandate expiring next week, Washington will need to make a decision sooner rather than later. Several US states are seeing a rise in COVID-19 case numbers, primarily attributed to the highly transmissible subvariant of omicron, BA.2. Several high-profile US politicians and decision-makers have also confirmed catching COVID over the last week.

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