Due to an increasing number of people infected with the COVID Delta variant in the United States, the Philadelphia Health Department “strongly recommend” everyone, both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people, wear masks indoors. The updated recommendation occurs over a month since all COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in the city.
“Because of the rapid increase in cases here and around the country, and because we are seeing hospitalizations rise among children in Philadelphia, we are now strongly recommending that everyone mask while indoors in places where you do not know that everyone is vaccinated,” stated the Health Department on its website.
The authorities also are asking residents to consider double masking. “People who are not yet fully vaccinated should take additional precautions including avoiding crowded indoor spaces and considering double masking. In general, we recommend that you choose outdoor public places over indoors when you have the option as transmission is much less likely in outdoor settings.”
“People who are fully vaccinated against COVID have been found to be very well protected, although as with any vaccine, that protection is not 100%,” Health Officials added.
As reported by eater.com, since the COVID-19 Delta variant began spreading across the United States., and with children under 12 not currently eligible for the vaccine, city officials are concerned that case numbers and hospitalizations could spike again in Philadelphia.
The city has seen a rise in cases recently, registering 64 new cases per day in the past two weeks, compared to an average of 24 cases per day at the end of June. “We are seeing a small but disturbing increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 among children in Philadelphia, along with more than a doubling of cases in the city,” Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said in a statement on Thursday.
Besides the use of masks indoor, the Health Department stressed the importance of getting vaccinated. “The best way to protect yourself is to be fully vaccinated. Research has shown that having two doses of the Pfizer vaccine or the Moderna vaccine, both of which have been shown to be safe and effective, is more than 90% protective against the Delta variant.”
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“You can find the hundreds of locations that are administering the vaccines in Philadelphia, all for free, and often without an appointment needed, at phila.gov/vaccine.”