The announcement is expected as early as Wednesday afternoon from the CDC. The term is now due to expire on May 3. The Associated Press was first to report the extension.
The administration official told CNN the goal of the extension was to gather more information and understand the BA.2 variant of the coronavirus.

“Since early April, there have been increases in the 7-day rolling average of cases in the United States. In order to assess the potential impact, the increase in cases has on serious illnesses, including hospitalizations and deaths, and healthcare system capacity, The CDC recommends that (the Transportation Security Administration) extend the safety directive to mandate mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs for 15 days, until March 3 May 2022,” the official said.

The official said the extension “will give the CDC more time to learn more about BA.2 and make a more informed decision.”

According to the CDC’s latest estimates, BA.2 caused 86% of new Covid-19 cases nationwide last week.

The United States now averages 38,345 new cases of Covid-19 per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Cases are trending up in more than half of the states — including all but one northeastern state, Delaware. But the daily rate remains one of the lowest since mid-July.

According to the CDC’s latest ensemble forecast, there could be just over 11,000 additional deaths over the next four weeks, one of the lowest numbers of additional deaths expected in 2022.

The number of new Covid-19 cases and deaths worldwide also continued to decline by 24% and 18%, respectively, in the week of April 4 to April 10 compared to the previous week, the official said. ‘World Health Organization in its weekly epidemiological update, published on Tuesday.

But the WHO and its International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee declared on Wednesday that the Covid-19 pandemic remains a public health emergency of international concern – a designation originally made in January 2020.

In many places in the United States, general requirements that individuals wear masks in public places have been lifted. The transport mandate applies to public transport, including planes, trains, buses and hubs like airports.

The term was due to expire on April 18. White House Covid-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told CNN on Monday that the CDC plans to share a scientific framework for the federal transport mask mandate this week.

Asked by CNN’s John Berman what he personally thinks about lifting mask mandates on transportation, Jha said: “I think those decisions should always be guided by science and evidence and a framework, a framework science, which helps us make intelligent decisions about it.

Covid-19 Is still rampant?  Experts aren & # 39;  t sure

“We’re going to see what they come up with. And based on that, I think we’re going to want to make a decision based on the kind of facts on the ground and the science and the scientific framework that we have.”

The White House decided last month to extend the mask-carrying mandate, originally established at the start of Biden’s presidency, until April 18. The White House said government agencies would consult with the CDC on the circumstances under which a warrant could be brought back.

Aircrew unions initially applauded the measure to protect staff unable to avoid close contact with passengers, but some in the airline industry have recently called for an end to the mandate.

A group of top airline CEOs have said they want an end. The union representing flight attendants at Southwest Airlines called on the Biden administration in March to “lift the federal mask mandate as soon as possible.” And a group of 21 states, as well as pilot and flight attendant groups, petitioned federal courts in March to permanently end the warrant.

The mandate has also led to conflicts with passengers in the sky.

The Federal Aviation Administration says that since the start of 2022, there have been some 744 unruly passenger incidents related to face masks reported to the agency by airline crews.

This story has been updated with additional reports.

Jamie Gumbrecht and Naomi Thomas CNN contributed to this report.