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Philadelphia to BRING BACK mask mandate as ‘stealth’ variant fuels rise in cases

BREAKING: Philadelphia to BRING BACK mask mandate as ‘stealth’ variant fuels rise in cases

  • Philadelphia is reinstating its indoor mask mandate starting next week, only a month after lifting it
  • Cases in the city have slightly risen in recent weeks, but nowhere near enough to be considered a surge 

Philadelphia is bringing back its indoor mask mandate only a month after lifting it as Covid cases once again begin to rise.

The eastern Pennsylvania city will reimpose its mask mandate starting on Monday, April 18, Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole announced during a briefing.

Officials also revealed that Covid cases had jumped to 142 per day, with 46 hospitalizations related to the virus – slight increases over the past week but nowhere near the over 6,000 daily cases recorded at the peak of the Omicron variant fueled surge at the start of the year.

The move comes as Covid figures begin to creep upwards nationwide after nearly three straight months of declines coming off of the mid-January virus peak, and BA.2 ‘stealth’ variant begins to settle into the U.S.

Many officials, including the usually-cautious Dr Anthony Fauci, have assured Americans that this recent case increase are unlikely to develop into a full scale surge, though.

Philadelphia will reinstate an indoor public mask mandate on April 18. Pictured: NBA fans wear masks while watching a game at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center

Officials point to benchmarks set being the reason for masks coming back, as the recent uptick in cases has caused the city to once again reach thresholds that require indoor masking.

Philadelphia Public Health said on Twitter Monday that the city will now enter ‘Level 2: Mask Precautions’, as triggered by the recent increase in cases. 

After a week to adjust, all indoor public places like schools, businesses, restaurants and government buildings will be required to use masking indoors. 

‘Philadelphia’s COVID-19 response levels allow us to be clear, transparent and predictable in our response to local conditions,’ Jim Kenney, mayor of Philadelphia, said in a tweet.

‘Given the rise in cases, we’re moving to Level 2 on April 18 to prevent higher case rates.’

‘Our city remains open; we can still go about our daily lives and visit the people and places we love while masking in indoor public spaces.’ 

Case figures are not considered to be a reliable metric when judging the state of the pandemic by many federal level officials, though.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed its metrics earlier this year, now valuing hospitalizations over all else when recommending mask orders on certain populations. 

According to the CDC, Philadelphia County, which includes the city, is one of the 95% of counties considered to have ‘low’ Covid risk and not recommended to wear masks indoors.