New York City, NY

Go back to wearing masks or get vaccinated? The new debate in NYC to stop the new variant

Desiree Peralta

Since last June 15, when the restrictions imposed by the State against COVID-19 were eliminated, the figures related to the pandemic have been decreasing sustainably, registering the lowest levels of infections and the rate of positivity since the beginning of the year.

But now, a month later, that trend is reversing due to the Delta variant, and again the infection rate in the city has risen again to 1.72%. The number of new cases has more than doubled since July 4, prompting some elected officials to call for the reinstatement of masks.

Among those voices stands out that of the ombudsman Jumaane Williams and the City Council's Health Committee Mark Levine, who asked that the mandate to wear masks in interior spaces be reimposed, as the Los Angeles County did. Last week after registering a rebound in coronavirus cases.

Levine said cases are increasing in New York "by more than doubling in the last two weeks, driven by the Delta, while the use of masks indoors is decreasing: in delis, stores, subways, cinemas, etc. . We need to reverse this trend. It is time to renew the mandate for indoor masks, even for those who are vaccinated."

"We cannot ignore what is happening here," said the Manhattan councilor, who was recently elected as the Democratic candidate for the presidency of that county.

Mayor de Blasio disagrees with going back with the mandatory measures or curfew.

Mayor Bill de Blasio disagrees that this is the solution to stop the rebound in cases, and in his opinion, the solution is to continue promoting vaccination.

"The simple answer is no," he told the president when asked whether the City will reorder the use of masks, adding that masks "have an indisputable value, but the masks do not go to the root of the problem, it is vaccination. , so we are not claiming a mask mandate. We intend to double the vaccination ”.

And insisting that there will be no new mandate on face masks but rather a reinforcement of the call to be vaccinated, the Mayor said that new measures would be announced during this week and hinted that it would no longer be about incentives to promote that people get injections. Still, more to force those who remain "stubborn" in not wanting to do so.

In a tone almost of frustration, De Blasio used the expression is “crazy” several times during his press conference: “Why is this so difficult? Just go and get the vaccine… it's not difficult. It is only about horrible rumors and falsehoods out there, which are deeply affecting the people to make the decision, and that is a national pandemic of lies ”.

De Blasio recalled that there are already 4.5 million residents fully vaccinated in the city, a little below the goal that the Mayor had set of achieving 5 million fully immunized for June. In addition, as of Tuesday, 9,757,653 doses of the vaccine had been administered since the start of the immunization plan.

The debate over the use of masks comes when the Delta variant now accounts for 69% of the new virus cases reported in the city. This is a highly contagious version of the virus that first originated in India.

What do you think NYC should do in the face of new cases of COVID-19?

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