Philadelphia will require masks in schools once again
Philadelphia officials are bringing back masks at public schools in another effort to bring back face coverings after officials implemented a citywide mask mandate last month that only lasted a few days before its subsequent lifting.
Masks returned to schools in the City of Brotherly Love on Monday, with Superintendent Dr. William Hite citing rising Covid cases in Philadelphia in making the decision in a statement on the matter last week.
It is the second attempt to reinstate masks in the city in as many months. In mid-April, officials announced that case and hospitalization numbers had surpassed the thresholds needed to reinstate the mask mandate in public places, including schools.
The bizarre decision was widely criticized by residents, and no other blue city followed the eastern Pennsylvania city’s example. Just days after the mask mandate went into effect, it was repealed, with officials stating that their plan was to do it all along.
Covid cases in Philadelphia County, which is made up mostly of the city’s 1.5 million residents, rose this month, to around 500 a day after spending much of last month in the low 300s, according to data. most recent available from early last week. However, deaths in the city have remained in the single digits for around two months.
Daily Covid cases in Philadelphia County have risen from around 300 a day to 500 a day during May, official data shows.
Daily Covid deaths in Philadelphia have been in the single digits for around two months, according to official figures.
“To help protect the health and well-being of all as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the Philadelphia area, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) has recommended that we resume universal use of face coverings. Hite said in a statement.
Dr. William Hite (pictured), wrote in a statement that the city’s response to the virus will “evolve” over time.
The order will last indefinitely and will apply to both students and staff in the city’s public schools. The orders are estimated to apply to 200,000 students and 18,000 staff members.
“As we have learned since the pandemic began, the coronavirus continues to evolve and so will our response,” Hite continued.
On April 11, officials announced the drastic but short-lived decision to implement a Covid mask mandate for all closed public places.
“Philadelphia’s COVID-19 response levels allow us to be clear, transparent and predictable in our response to local conditions,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. cheep.
“Given the increase in cases, we will be moving to Tier 2 on April 18 to avoid higher case rates.”
‘Our city remains open; We can still go about our daily lives and visit the people and places we love while wearing masks in indoor public spaces.’
After widespread backlash, the order was lifted on April 22, just four days after it first went into effect on the 18th.
“With this steady decline in hospitalizations and leveling off, we’re really not seeing that sustained increase that we were worried about seeing,” Dr. Cheryl Bettigone said at the time.
Covid cases have been rising across the country in recent weeks, but the country’s high vaccination rate combined with the relatively mild nature of the Omicron variant has meant that cases have not fully translated into deaths.
The United States is averaging 108,605 cases per day as of Tuesday, an 18 percent increase from last week, and recently eclipsed the 100,000 cases per day mark for the first time since February.
However, deaths have remained low, with 344 Americans dying from the virus daily, one of the lowest figures in the pandemic that has been sustained for more than a month.
Other similar blue cities have managed to avoid the temptation to bring back Covid mandates in the wake of rising cases.
In New York City, health officials set the city’s Covid alert level to ‘high’ last week and reportedly pressed Mayor Eric Adams to reinstate the indoor mask mandate in a effort to control the numbers of cases.
The mayor was asked at a news event if he planned to follow those orders and said ‘no’ on Wednesday. He also previously lifted the city’s vaccine and mask mandate for indoor public places that was put in place in response to the wave of Omicron variants over the winter.
The reinstatement of masks in Philadelphia schools comes as eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines may be expanded.
Pfizer revealed this week that trials of its three-dose vaccine in children aged six months to five years showed 80 percent effectiveness in preventing infection from the Omicron variant.
An FDA advisory meeting has been scheduled in response to a new report from Pfizer, which is developing its opportunity as a joint project with the German company BioNTech.
Unlike previous versions of the vaccine, the regimen for this age group comes in three doses. The injections are also only three micrograms (mg) in size, one-tenth the dose of 30-mg injections for adults.
The New York City-based pharmaceutical giant had initially planned to make its injection for the youngest of Americans in just two doses, but early results from late last year found that the first two doses had little impact on immunity. against the virus in children older than three and four years.