Chicago, New Mexico and airports turn to mask requirements as virus cases rise.


As the extremely contagious Delta variant fuels a pointy rise in cases across the United States, extra indoor mask mandates are returning or being prolonged: for Chicagoans, New Mexicans and, now till subsequent yr, any Americans utilizing public transportation or visiting an airport.

Chicago and New Mexico’s mandates, which apply no matter vaccination standing, start on Friday.

The mandates, introduced Tuesday, come after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended final month that everybody put on masks indoors in areas with excessive case numbers, no matter their vaccination standing.

Officials stated the mask requirements had been wanted to assist cease the fast unfold of the virus. Over the previous week, the United States has been averaging roughly 139,800 new coronavirus cases every day, a rise of 52 p.c from two weeks in the past. The variety of new deaths reported is up 87 p.c, to a mean of 696 deaths per day.

Washington, D.C., and San Francisco Hawaii, Louisiana, Oregon and Puerto Rico have additionally turned towards indoor mask mandates.

Though cases have risen eightfold in Cook County, the place Chicago is, since early July, when fewer than 100 cases had been being reported most days, the outlook remains far better than in much of the rest of the country. On a per-capita foundation, Cook County is averaging fewer than half as many new cases as the nation as an entire. An common of 17 cases per 100,000 residents are rising every day in Cook County, in contrast to 43 cases per 100,000 folks nationally and 138 cases per 100,000 folks in Florida.

Chicago’s new mask mandate covers all indoor public settings, together with bars and eating places, golf equipment and frequent areas of residential buildings, in accordance to town’s division of well being. The mandate was put in place as a result of town’s each day common of recent reported cases rose to greater than 400 a day, and it’s going to revert to a advice when common new cases drop beneath 400 for an prolonged interval, Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago’s well being commissioner, stated.

“I don’t expect that this will be an indefinite, forever mask requirement,” Dr. Arwady stated.

In New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham stated Tuesday that masks could be required in all public indoor settings from Friday by means of not less than Sept. 15.

New Mexico required folks in public areas to put on a mask beginning in May 2020, however dropped it a few yr later for individuals who had been totally vaccinated, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.

Recently, cases within the states began to rise. “This surge is a terrifying indicator of moving absolutely in the wrong direction,” Ms. Lujan Grisham stated at a information convention.

Ms. Lujan Grisham additionally introduced that lecturers and all employees at public, non-public and constitution colleges within the state would have to be vaccinated or face common testing. This mandate goes into impact on Monday.

With hospitals filling with Covid-19 sufferers, Ms. Lujan Grisham stated, “We’re in a terrible place for health care services and for protecting our health care workers.”

Travelers trying to keep away from areas with stringent mask requirements could have to suppose once more. The Transportation Security Administration introduced on Tuesday it was extending its mask mandate for airports, airplanes and public transportation by means of Jan. 18, 2022. Travelers below the age of two and these with sure disabilities are exempt, Sari Koshetz, a spokeswoman for the T.S.A., stated.

Requiring masks has turn into a hot-button political problem, and Republican governors like Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas have forbidden native governments and faculty districts of their states from imposing mask mandates.

That has not stopped districts in these states from attempting, and legal battles in regards to the requirements are nonetheless taking part in out.

Mitch Smith and Adam Nagourney contributed reporting.



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