New York City, NY

NYC Mayor Encourage But Don't Require Universal Indoor Masking Yet

Desiree Peralta

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Bill de Blasio, the New York City Mayor, strongly encouraged vaccinated individuals to wear masks indoors but halted Monday after reappearing on a mask mandate in an attempt to focus on vaccines.

"Everything we're doing is based on data and science, but it's also based on strategy," de Blasio said. "The overwhelming strategic thrust is vaccination, so we thought the right mix was to heavily focus on vaccination, continue to climb the ladder with more and more vaccine requirements in place and to give a very clear message to all New Yorkers strongly recommending mask usage regardless of vaccination status. But we thought that was the right balance."

One week after new guidelines were released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which would allow fully-vaccinated persons to wear masks inside, whether they are in "substantial" or "high" transmission regions, the choice of not reissuing an indoor mask term is taken. All five municipalities in NYC have a "substantial" or "high" transmission, a case rate, and a positive rate measure.

The decision of the mayor contrasts with that of Washington DC, Los Angeles County, and some big subway systems, which renewed mask regulations in the context of the expansion of the Covid-19 Delta. New York City has already demanded that vaccinated individuals wear masks in public transport, hospitals, and schools.

The viewpoint of De Blasio was identical to that of the CDC, as both are technically recommended.

"First of all, recognize that the CDC recommended (masks) and we are recommending -- so we're tracking the exact language from the CDC, just as New Jersey and Connecticut have done. I think that's exactly where we need to be right now," de Blasio said.

The decision, however, illustrates the CDC's decline in pandemic power at this time, when protecting vaccinations are accessible to everyone aged 12 or over. The new guideline on the Mask for CDC was based on a Delta outbreak, in which five people have been hospitalized and no one has died, mostly from vaccination in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Dr. David Chokshi, the commissioner of the City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DoHMH), said that the "fully" vaccinated should return to the practice of using facial protection some months ago, which adjusts nicely on the two sides of the face.

"And if you consider that you belong to a risk group, particularly in this context of the advancement of the Delta variant, it is reasonable to wear a double mask or use a higher grade one, such as the KN-95 or a KF-94", stressed the City's top doctor.

A quick rise in coronavirus infections has occurred in New York City: about 1,200 instances a day, some six times as many in June. The Delta variety is affected in 70 percent of these confirmed instances.

Although vaccines might not be 100% effective, vaccinations are significantly shielded from serious disease and death. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation review of official State statistics, less than 1% of completely vaccinated persons have suffered a breakthrough infection, and CDC data reveal just 0,004% of fully immunized people were admitted as a result of Covid-19.

The Mayor has stressed in recent weeks that vaccinating as many people as possible is important while downplaying the necessity of masks, saying vaccines are "the whole ball game."

"Masks can be helpful, we are going to delineate to New Yorkers the best way to use masks, but they don't change the basic reality. Vaccination does," he told CNN's Poppy Harlow on Friday.

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