Philadelphia to end indoor mask mandate days after imposing it

By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) – Philadelphia is ending its indoor mask mandate, health officials said late on Thursday, reversing its decision just days after imposing the order.

The Board of Health (BOH) voted on Thursday to end the mandate, the Philadelphia health department said.

“Due to decreasing hospitalizations and a leveling of case counts, the city will move to strongly recommend masks in indoor public spaces as opposed to a mask mandate,” a department spokesperson said in a statement late on Thursday. “Given the latest data, the BOH voted to rescind the mandate.”

Philadelphia reinstated its mask mandate on Monday for indoor public settings such as restaurants, schools and businesses, responding to what appeared to be a fresh wave of coronavirus transmissions.

The move made Philadelphia the first major city in the United States to reimpose such a mandate.

Before re-imposing the mandate, the city of 1.5 million residents relaxed its indoor mask mandate for public spaces amid a decline in cases in March following the record Omicron variant surge in January.

Most U.S. states and localities have eased mask and vaccination requirements.

A total of 5,025 Philadelphians have died from COVID-19 and more than 280,000 have been diagnosed with coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to the city’s health department, which added the city had 242 average new cases per day with 65 hospitalizations as of last count.

About 990,000 lives have been lost in the United States since the coronavirus pandemic began in early 2020, according to a Reuters tally.

Source : Reuters

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