Philadelphia: First major city to bring back mask mandate

Philadelphia became the first major U.S. city to reinstate its indoor mask mandate on Monday after reporting a sharp increase in coronavirus infections. Confirmed Covid-19 cases have risen more than 50% in 10 days, the threshold at which the city’s guidelines call for people to wear masks indoors, said Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, the health commissioner.

Health officials believe the recent spike is being driven by the highly transmissible BA.2 sub-variant of omicron, which has spread rapidly throughout Europe and Asia and has become dominant in the U.S. in recent weeks. “If we fail to act now, knowing that every previous wave of infections has been followed by a wave of hospitalizations, and then a wave of deaths, it will be too late for many of our residents,” Bettigole said.

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