NEW YORK - With COVID-19 cases climbing in all 50 states, New York City Councilman Mark Levine, who chairs the Health Committee, is calling for the indoor mask mandate to be reinstated in the city, even for the vaccinated.
Levine cites the rapid rise in cases in the city for his call to re-mask. In a tweet, he said, "Indoor mask use in NYC is falling—in delis, stores, subways, movie theaters etc. We need to reverse this trend."
He says the city needs to act quickly to slow the Delta version of the coronavirus because other areas in the U.S. with similar vaccine rates are seeing rising hospitalizations.
When asked whether he would support the reinstatement of the mask mandate to fight COVID, Bill de Blasio said he would not. The city's efforts, he added, will be on getting more people vaccinated.
"Masks are not going at the root of the problem. Vaccination is," de Blasio said at a news conference Monday morning.
Even with vaccines readily accessible, this has become a pandemic of the unvaccinated. According to the surgeon general, 99.5% of the deaths today are among the unvaccinated.
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The Delta variant has driven the increase in cases. For the week ending on July 3, that variant accounted for 69% of New York City’s new cases, according to data from the Health Department.
Monday, the mass vaccination locations at Jones Beach and three upstate sites were closed. Easy access to vaccines at pharmacies and other locations lessens the need for large sites, according to state authorities.
Officials urge people to get inoculated as soon as possible.