As the number of coronavirus cases has increased in the United States, some universities and public school systems have re-imposed indoor mask mandates on their campuses, a sign that while the academic year is drawing to a close, the pandemic still hasn’t.
The University of Hawaii’s mandate was expanded Wednesday on its 10 campuses, where masks are mandatory in all indoor areas except when working alone or where social distancing is possible. The university said it took the action because nearly the entire state was now in the high-risk category for community transmission. under the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention†
The University of Delaware cited rising reports of new cases and hospitalizations both in her home state and nationwide when it announced her mask mandate would again include all interior spaces, as of Tuesday. President Biden, an alumnus, will give a kick-off speech at the university on Saturday†
Some public school systems have taken similar steps this week to reintroduce universal indoor masking, including two in Rhode Island, in Providence and Central waterfalls. Both are in a province recently classified as high-risk, officials from each system said.
Schools in Philadelphia restored their mask mandate on Monday. When city officials there tried to do the same for other indoor public institutions in April, they reversed course after four days.
Another Omicron subvariant known as BA.2.12.1, which is spreading faster than previous versions, has become the dominant form of the virus among new US cases, according to federal estimates. For the first time since February, the country is now receiving an average of more than 100,000 new confirmed cases per day, according to a New York Times database, and the increasing use of home testing means the true number of infections is likely higher.
Federal health officials have warned that a large proportion of Americans lived in areas with medium or high levels of virus transmission. The White House Covid-19 Coordinator, Dr. Ashish K. Jha, also urges Americans to mask. “I have a strong feeling that people should do that in crowded indoor spaces, in places of high transmission,” said Dr. Jha Sunday in the ABC program “This Week”.
Still, conditions appear to be stabilizing in some northeastern states that were among the first to see a spring wave in cases. While the numbers are still high, cases in New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island have started to level off or decline.
SOURCE – www.nytimes.com