The city of Philadelphia is planning to reinstate its indoor mask mandate.

Background: Last month the city’s health department lifted its mandate for schools and eased other Covid-19 precautions. The nation has been experiencing a steady drop in Covid cases and many lawmakers have been calling to lift remaining health orders.

The Biden administration has lifted the Title 42 health order used to rapidly expel migrants from the border, claiming the pandemic has passed.

What Happened: On Monday, Philadelphia health officials announced residents and visitors will be required to wear masks in public spaces indoors starting next week out of concern for the new Omicron BA.2 variant.

What Health Officials Say: “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 Cheryl Bettigole said. “This is our chance to get ahead of the pandemic.” (per The Wall Street Journal)

The city is now averaging 142 newly reported Covid-19 cases a day, with case counts more than 50% higher than 10 days ago, Dr. Bettigole said. Forty-six people were hospitalized with Covid-19 in the city, she added.

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