As Matt reported last week, fear over the Delta variant of the Wuhan coronavirus took hold in Los Angeles County so much so that authorities reinstated an indoor mask mandate for all, regardless of vaccination status.
Now — not to be outdone by their peers on the left coast — New York City authorities are calling for a mask mandate of their own. New York Councilman Mark Levine, who serves as chairman of the council's health committee, tweeted his call for an indoor mask mandate.
Citing the delta variant driving COVID cases "up 2x+ in past 2 weeks" Levine said "we need to reverse this trend" and "it's time to renew the indoor mask mandate, including for those who are vax'd."
Cases are rising in NYC (up 2x+ in past 2 weeks), driven by delta.— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) July 17, 2021
Indoor mask use in NYC is falling—in delis, stores, subways, movie theaters etc.
We need to reverse this trend.
It's time to renew the indoor mask mandate, including for those who are vax'd.
Of course Science(TM) has already concluded that all three Wuhan coronavirus vaccines approved for use in the United States are effective against COVID and the delta variant.
And as Matt also covered, the "panic porn peddlers" like the health authorities who brought back the mask mandate in LA County and are now pushing for the same in New York "just need to put it away right now because the latest fatality figures from LA County are beyond absurd if you want to make an argument for the new mask mandate."
The few COVID deaths — just nine — in Los Angeles County were all individuals who were unvaccinated.
But as Levine said later in his call for a universal mask mandate in New York City, it's not about science or the unlikely chance that a vaccinated individual can transmit COVID. No, it's "because we need mask solidarity."
The rule of thumb should be: in indoor settings where there's no screening for vax/test status, everyone should wear a mask.— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) July 17, 2021
This must include vax'd because there's a very small chance they can still receive/transmit, & because we need mask solidarity. Otherwise it doesn't work.
It's worth noting that the same Councilman Levine who's now calling for all New Yorkers to wear masks indoors — whether they are vaccinated or not — was in a "huge" maskless crowd calling for his fellow citizens to join him for a "powerful show of defiance of #coronavirus scare" in February 2020.
In powerful show of defiance of #coronavirus scare, huge crowds gathering in NYC's Chinatown for ceremony ahead of annual #LunarNewYear parade. Chants of "be strong Wuhan!"— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) February 9, 2020
If you are staying away, you are missing out! pic.twitter.com/NGBUAfHWpl
For now, Mayor Bill de Blasio seems resistant to Levine's push for another mask mandate, saying Monday that "a mask doesn’t arrest the progress of the variant — vaccination does."