Philadelphia Reinstates Indoor Face Mask Mandate

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Philadelphia is to reinstate its indoor mask mandate beginning April 18.

Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole announced on Monday that all public places will require face masks due to ‘rising Covid cases’.

That means that students will again be required to wear face masks in schools when they return after the spring break.

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According to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, there were 142 Covid cases as of April 8 and 44 people were hospitalized because of the virus.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports: By resuming the indoor mask mandate, city officials hope to stave off another surge in hospitalizations and deaths that could accompany the current case increase that appears to be caused by the BA.2 omicron subvariant.

If we fail to act now, knowing that every previous wave of infections has been followed by a wave of hospitalizations and a wave of deaths, it’ll be too late for many of our residents,” Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said during a briefing Monday.

Bettigole noted that 750 Philadelphians died in three months over the winter during the omicron wave.

“We don’t know if the BA.2 variant in Philadelphia will have the kind of impact on hospitalizations and deaths that we saw with the original omicron variant this winter,” Bettigole said. “I suspect that this wave will be smaller than the one we saw in January.”

“This is our chance to get ahead of the pandemic, to put our masks on until we have more information on the severity of this variant.”