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Now is not the time to reinstate mask mandates

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The city of Philadelphia reinstated its indoor mask mandate on Monday, citing an increase in daily covid-19 cases driven by the highly contagious BA.2 omicron subvariant. Though the uptick in cases is important to keep an eye on, I believe it was premature for the local government to reimpose a mask requirement. Other cities should not follow suit.

Less than two months ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laid out new masking recommendations that changed the primary measurement from cases to hospitalizations and hospital capacity. To allow for more tailored guidance, the CDC also released an interactive map for people to look up the covid-19 risk level where they live. Individuals should wear a mask if they are in communities designated as high-risk. Those in medium-risk areas can choose to mask based on their medical circumstances, and those in low-risk areas do not need to mask.

Philadelphia is still solidly in the low-risk zone. City officials, in explaining why they are not following CDC guidelines, have said that they want to get ahead of a potential surge. While acting out of abundance of caution is generally an admirable principle, there are three problems with this decision.

First, there is no convincing evidence that the rise in cases is so........

© Washington Post

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