Chicago, IL

Is a National Mask Mandate Coming Back?

Joel Eisenberg

States are beginning to renew mandates. Is the country far behind?

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Author’s Note

This article is free of bias and based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. All linked information within this article is fully-attributed to the following outlets: USNews.com, Chicago.gov, The Chicago Tribune, CDC.gov, Axios.com, Forbes.com, the University of Washington in Seattle, and the Pew Research Center.

Introduction

According to USNews.com: On April 11, 2022, at 9:16 p.m. Philadelphia became the first major U.S. city to reinstate its indoor mask mandate on Monday after reporting a sharp increase in coronavirus infections, with the city's top health official saying she wanted to forestall a potential new wave driven by an omicron subvariant.

On the heels of increased new Covid-19 cases, other states appear to be leaning-in on the matter following Philadelphia’s lead. From WBEZ.org, in their April 13 article entitled “COVID-19 Cases Are Rising in Chicago. Will a Mask Mandate Return?”: Chicago is now averaging more than 400 new COVID-19 cases per day — a number the city’s top doctor once called “a line in the sand for us.”While that number was previously used as a harbinger for when to institute — or remove — mask mandates, local doctors now say it’s an imperfect metric, in part because many people don’t report positive at-home tests and vaccines are widely available.

Chicago Tribune and Chicago.gov websites are hyperlinked in the above excerpt.

Further, on April 13, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the following press release: “CDC Mask Order Remains in Effect and CDC Realigns Travel Health Notice System.” Mask mandates for travel will remain in full effect for at least another 15 days, the press release explains.

From the release: CDC continues to monitor the spread of the Omicron variant, especially the BA.2 subvariant that now makes up more than 85% of U.S. cases. Since early April, there have been increases in the 7-day moving average of cases in the U.S. The CDC Mask Order remains in effect while CDC assesses the potential impact of the rise of cases on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and healthcare system capacity. TSA will extend the security directive and emergency amendment for 15 days, through May 3, 2022. Secondly, CDC will update its Travel Health Notice system for international destinations.

As ever, news of possible returning mandates have been received with political division. While many politicians on the left are saying they will reinstate mask mandates if justified, many on the right are condemning any such possibility. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and others in predominately red states are speaking out of late, as the consensus among politicians regardless of party is the mandates may return in some form.

The State of Masks, 2022

Earlier today, Axios.com published a piece on the CDC news, which also includes trains, transit hubs, and buses. See here for “CDC Extends Travel Mask Mandate For Two Weeks.”

On April 11, Forbes.com published an article elaborating upon the possibility of what some are dreading and others are looking forward to. Excerpting from “Mask Mandates May Be Coming Back in Some Places and Sticking Around For Air Travel”: The percentage of Americans who say they always wear a mask in public has dropped to just 23%, its lowest level since April 2020, according to tracking data from the University of Washington in Seattle. Notably, vaccinated Americans are more than twice as likely (70%) as unvaccinated Americans (32%) to report wearing a mask in public places regularly, per data from the Pew Research Center.

The article goes on to discuss how masks in both travel and elsewhere may be around for longer than what is presently being discussed.

Conclusion

Clearly, the next few weeks will prove to be crucial regarding any further formal decisions on the matter of renewed mask mandates.

As ever, time will tell.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

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