Calls for mask mandates grow as Delta variant spreads

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – The dominant Delta variant, a spike in COVID cases, and increasing hospitalization rates are all big concerns nationwide. So much so that some areas are reconsidering mask mandates until more people get vaccinated.

COVID numbers are soaring nationwide. The CDC says more than 91 million Americans live in a county considered to have high COVID-19 transmission.

University of Alabama at Birmingham Professor of Infectious Diseases Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo said, “In our ICUs we’re seeing younger people intubated who are very sick or who are on the floors and are very sick. That should be a gigantic wake-up call.”

Other cities like Austin, Texas are urging people to mask up indoors. Los Angeles County making it mandatory.

When it comes to the mask mandate some health experts say it’s time for a change, starting from the top.

CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen said, “I hope that the Biden administration hits the reset button.”

Former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams echoed those comments in a Washington Post op-ed piece. He said, “The CDC urgently needs to revise its guidance to vaccinate and mask in places where cases are rising yet vaccination rates remain low.”

Some officials are adamant and focused on getting as many people vaccinated as possible.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “The thing that stops the delta variant, the thing that turns the tide and saves lives is the vaccine.”

At least nine states have banned mask mandates in schools, but with the Delta variant wreaking havoc across the country there are concerns that the virus could spread in the classroom.

Chair of the CDC’S Advisory Committee on Immunization Dr. Jose Romero said, “We’re seeing closures in daycares, we’re seeing closures in summer camps, and all that leads me to believe that in a setting where you don’t have strict mitigation, it will spread very quickly like our schools.”

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