Health Care — Biden administration could appeal mask ruling

Kendrick Lamar announced his new album titled “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers,” his first in five years, will be released next month.

The Department of Justice announced Tuesday evening it will appeal a Florida judge’s ruling blocking the federal mask mandate for travelers if the CDC deems the mandate necessary for public health.

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DOJ to appeal if CDC deems mask mandate needed

The Justice Department on Tuesday said it would appeal a ruling nullifying the federal mandate for masks on planes and other public transit if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determines that a “mandatory order remains necessary for the public’s health.”

“The Department continues to believe that the order requiring masking in the transportation corridor is a valid exercise of the authority Congress has given CDC to protect the public health,” DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement Tuesday evening. “That is an important authority the Department will continue to work to preserve.”

“If CDC concludes that a mandatory order remains necessary for the public’s health after that assessment, the Department of Justice will appeal the district court’s decision,” Coley said.

Read more here.

Moderna: New shot more effective against omicron

Moderna on Tuesday said new clinical data had found that its “bivalent” COVID-19 booster shot was more effective against all variants of concern when compared to its currently available coronavirus vaccine.

Moderna’s CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement that its bivalent vaccine shot had induced a greater antibody response than the vaccine that is currently available, sold as Spikevax. The bivalent vaccine combines Moderna’s original COVID-19 vaccine with a beta variant specific vaccine.

“Our latest bivalent booster candidate, mRNA-1273.214, which combines the currently authorized Moderna COVID-19 booster with our Omicron-specific booster candidate, remains our lead candidate for the fall 2022 Northern Hemisphere booster,” said Bancel.

“We believe that a bivalent booster vaccine, if authorized, would create a new tool as we continue to respond to emerging variants.”

According to Moderna, the newer shot was well tolerated by 300 study participants who received 50 microgram doses as well as 595 participants who received 100 microgram doses.

The results of the study have yet to be peer-reviewed.

Read more here.

JOHNSON & JOHNSON SUSPENDS SALES FORECAST FOR COVID VACCINES

Johnson & Johnson announced on Tuesday it would be suspending its COVID-19 vaccine sales forecast, citing demand uncertainty and a global supply surplus.

The drug manufacturer, which made the announcement while reporting on its first quarter earnings results for 2022, reported $23.4 billion for its first quarter, compared to $22.3 billion around the same time last year.

However, it was lower than the projection of $23.6 billion that Refinitiv forecasted, according to Reuters.

Adjusted earnings per share was at $2.67, which Reuters noted was higher than the $2.56 per share that was expected.

Johnson & Johnson noted that its COVID-19 vaccine sales helped contribute to company growth but said that its declining sales of Remicade, an inflammatory disease treatment, partially offset those gains.

Still, the COVID-19 vaccine brought in much less than what the drugmaker had anticipated: $457 million in the first quarter compared to estimates of as much as $3.5 billion, Reuters noted, due to safety concerns and low demand.

Read more here.

TRUMP SURGEON GENERAL BLASTS ENDING TRAVEL MASK MANDATES

Former Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who served in the role in the Trump administration, blasted a federal judge’s decision to strike down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) travel mask mandate, arguing that the move will “endangear” lives.

“Remind me — which schoolhouse rock explains to kids how a single unelected judge has the power to endanger their lives in public settings? I’m just a judge- I’m just a judge, and I’m hurting you cuz I’ve got a grudge…,” Adams wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.

In a separate tweet, the former surgeon general clarified that he was not arguing whether the judge had the authority to make such a decision, but rather if she should have ruled as she did. a

“The argument is not if the judge could do it- the argument is whether or not the judge should’ve done it, after taking into account all the variables and implications of the decision,” Adams said.

“Judges use such discretion all the time. People (and our economy) likely will be harmed,” he added.

Read more here.

Biden: Masking on planes an individual choice

President Biden on Tuesday said whether to wear a mask on an airplane should be an individual choice after a federal judge blocked a requirement for passengers on public transportation to be masked.

“Should people continue to wear masks on planes?” a reporter asked Biden during a trip to New Hampshire to promote infrastructure projects.

“That’s up to them,” the president responded.

Asked if the Department of Justice should appeal the ruling that invalidated the mask requirement on plains, trains and buses, Biden said he had not spoken to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the ruling.

A shift in messaging: Biden’s comments marked a shift from the White House messaging in the immediate wake of the ruling.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday said the administration still recommended individuals wear masks on public transit.

“We’re continuing to recommend people wear masks,” Psaki said, pointing to existing CDC guidance.

Read more here.

WHAT WE’RE READING

  • Covid hasn’t given up all its secrets. Here are 6 mysteries experts hope to unravel (Stat)
  • Pfizer may have COVID-19 booster that addresses omicron, other variants by fall (ABC News)
  • Delta updates its statement calling COVID a ‘seasonal virus’ after a backlash (NPR)

STATE BY STATE

  • Cancer Cluster Probe at NJ HS Underway After 100+ Diagnosed With Brain Tumors (WNBC)
  • Masks Are Still Required for NYC Public Transit, Taxis and Ride Shares (The New York Times)
  • If you get the coronavirus, how do you get anti-COVID drugs? (Los Angeles Times)

THE HILL OP EDS

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow.

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