A federal judge in Washington, D.C., struck down Wednesday the national eviction moratorium issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last fall, imperiling millions of renters who have suffered financially because of the coronavirus.

The Department of Justice appealed the ruling and filed for an emergency stay to keep the moratorium in place until the appeal process is finished.

“Scientific evidence shows that evictions exacerbate the spread of COVID-19, which has already killed more than half a million Americans, and the harm to the public that would result from unchecked evictions cannot be undone,” Brian M. Boynton, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in a statement.

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