The city of Philadelphia announced it would rescind its indoor mask mandate.
Background: Last week, Philadelphia became the first major city to reimplement its indoor mask mandate over concerns of rising case rates.
“If we fail to act now, knowing that every previous wave of infections has been followed by a wave of hospitalizations, and then a wave of deaths, it will be too late for many of our residents,” Philadelphia health commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said at the time.
The mandate went into effect on Monday.
The order also triggered lawsuits from a number of residents and businesses.
The lawsuit filed last Saturday with the Commonwealth Court said that city health officials of have “usurped the power and authority” of state lawmakers, the state department of health, and the state advisory health board.
What Happened: Thursday evening, city officials announced an end to the indoor mask requirement.
What City Officials Said: “The City will move to strongly recommending masks in indoor public spaces as opposed to a mask mandate,” the health department said in a statement.
No data was provided to justify the abrupt policy reversal.
What It Means: This underscores the claims Americans have largely moved on from the panic of Covid-19 and have widely accepted that risks associated with the virus should not be handled personally, not by the government.