Philadelphia officials have revised the city’s mask guidance, encouraging everyone to wear face masks in public indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status as the more virulent delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread.
The mayor’s office announced that recent numbers showed a “small but disturbing” increase in hospitalizations. The number of cases has also doubled, according to the acting health commissioner, Dr. Cheryl Bettigole.
Most notably, the city has “strongly recommended” that everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, should wear masks when in public indoor spaces again.
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The city’s health department cited the delta variant as the driving factor behind its new recommendations. The strain is now the cause of 83% of cases in the U.S.
The greatest concentration of delta variant cases is in the Midwest, but states with large populations, including New York, have also seen the variant quickly take over as the dominant strain.
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Philadelphia reported about 24 cases a day throughout June, but that number was closer to 64 over the past two weeks, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The number of deaths has remained at around one per day for the past month.
In addition to indoor masks, officials also recommend unvaccinated people “double mask” while indoors in public spaces.
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The city otherwise insists that vaccinating is the main method of combatting the spread of the delta variant.
“As of this week, over one million people have been vaccinated in Philadelphia,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a press release. “The numbers make it clear: vaccinations are the best way to combat COVID-19 by protecting ourselves and the people around us.”
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The city has fully vaccinated about 61% of its adult population, with around 74% having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Philadelphia Health Department and the mayor’s office did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
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