Although not completely gone by a long shot, the bombardment of positive COVID-19 cases has definitely slowed down in recent months. Well, that is unless you live in the state of Philadelphia.
It’s unfortunately being reported that indoor mask mandates in the City of Brotherly Love are being reinforced once again after a 50% increase in COVID infections in just the past 10 days.
According to AP News, Philly is now the first major U.S. city to reinstate indoor mask mandates as a way for the city’s top health official to thwart the spread of an omicron subvariant. Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole says of the decision, “If we fail to act now, knowing that every previous wave of infections has been followed by a wave of hospitalizations, and then a wave of deaths, it will be too late for many of our residents,” also adding, “This is our chance to get ahead of the pandemic, to put our masks on until we have more information about the severity of this new variant.”
More on this less-than-stellar news for Philadelphians below, via AP News:
“Most states and cities dropped their masking requirements in February and early March following new guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that put less focus on case counts and more on hospital capacity. The CDC said at that time that with the virus in retreat, most Americans could safely take off their masks.
Philadelphia ended its indoor mask mandate March 2, and Bettigole acknowledged ‘it was wonderful to feel that sense of normalcy again.’
Confirmed cases have since risen to more than 140 per day — still a fraction of what Philadelphia saw at the height of the omicron surge — while hospitalizations remain low at only 46 patients.
‘I sincerely wish we didn’t have to do this again,’ Bettigole said. ‘But I am very worried about our vulnerable neighbors and loved ones.’”
Many local residents are opposed to the retroactive action, particularly those in the restaurant industry who fear workers will be blamed for it by angry customers. However, Philly may just be ahead of the curve given the recent spike in cases in other parts of the United States. Not only is NYC averaging about 1,800 new cases per day, but many high-profile Washington officials are currently contracting the virus, most recently House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Please stay healthy, Philly — we’re rooting for you!
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