NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday he does not plan to reinstate a citywide mask mandate even as COVID-19 cases increase, opting instead to focus on vaccinating more residents.
There have been calls for New York City to follow the lead of Los Angeles County, which announced last week that it will require masks to be worn indoors amid a sharp increase in virus cases.
NYC Councilman and Health Committee Chair Mark Levine said the city or state Health Department should follow the lead of other parts of the country.
“It presents a new challenge for us and it probably means all of us even those who are vaccinated need to be a little more cautious, including wearing our mask in crowded indoor venues,” said Levine. “Having an honor system where people wear it if they want to, it’s not working. You see the number of people wearing masks go down.”
But De Blasio insisted vaccinations are a better strategy for the nation’s most populous city.
“Masks have value, unquestionably, but masks are not going at the root of the problem. Vaccination is,” the mayor said during a livestreamed press briefing. “So we do not intend a mask mandate. We do intend to double down on vaccination.”
Other U.S. cities, including Las Vegas, are not going as far as reinstating a mask mandate but recommending masks indoors for the vaccinated and unvaccinated.
The CDC reported that cases are up 69.3% compared to the 7- day average last week. Places, where vaccination rates are lower, have reported a higher number of cases.
The surge in cases is attributed to a highly transmissible delta variant which is impacting the unvaccinated more significantly.
Currently, 161.2 million Americans are fully vaccinated against coronavirus. Over 186 million U.S. residents have at least one dose.
The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WPIX contributed this post
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