Philadelphia recommended indoor mask-wearing on Thursday, including for those who are fully vaccinated, as areas across the country have weighed similar policies in response to an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole cited a perceived danger to children, who have not yet been authorized to receive any version of the shot.
"It's time for all of us to do what we need to do to protect our city's kids," she said. "That means getting fully vaccinated if you haven't yet, and it means all of us going back to wearing masks in public. Kids under 12 cannot yet be vaccinated. They need you to step up."
The city ended its original mask mandate in June along with its ban on restaurants and bars operating after 11 p.m.
“For nearly 15 months, the City of Philadelphia has had restrictions in place to protect each other, and I have no doubt that these restrictions saved countless lives,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement at the time. “But Friday will be a day that we’ve all been looking forward to: getting back to doing the things that we love.”
In Kentucky on Monday, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear recommended all residents, regardless of vaccine status, wear masks indoors as he cited the rise in the delta COVID-19 variant. He also implored people "at higher risk from COVID-19 due to pre-existing conditions" to don face coverings.
“We have the most aggressive variant that we have seen to date in our battle against COVID. It’s a serious, even deadly, threat to unvaccinated Kentuckians,” the governor said in a statement. “If more adults don’t get vaccinated, it’s not just adults who pay the price. It’s our kids who will. Many of them can’t get vaccinated yet, and they count on us to make good decisions and do the right thing.”
While some are advising residents to change their behavior, others are ordering it. In Los Angeles County last weekend, authorities reimposed the area's indoor mask mandate without considering whether or not one has received both doses.
“Masking indoors must again become a normal practice by all, regardless of vaccination status, so they can stop the trends and level of transmission we’re currently seeing,” LA County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said.
“We’re not where we need to be for the millions at risk of infection here in Los Angeles County, and waiting to do something will be too late, given what we’re seeing,” he continued.
California's masking requirement ended on June 15 when the state adopted guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that stated individuals vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear face coverings in most circumstances.
In contrast, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has refused to order a new mask mandate in the Lone Star State. The Republican cited natural immunity and vaccinations as reasons for his decision.
“It would be inappropriate to require people who already have immunity to wear a mask,” the Republican governor told KPRC-TV on Wednesday. “But also, what we know is, everyone watching the show and in the state of Texas know exactly what the standards are and if they want to adopt them in order to help protect themselves.”
“The medical component, as we all know, is that one of the things that dramatically reduces, if not eliminates, the possibility of getting COVID or even getting the delta variant of COVID is getting a vaccine,” he added.
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Original Author: Jake Dima
Original Location: Philadelphia recommends indoor masking for all, including fully vaccinated