Mayor Bill de Blasio is not imposing a new indoor mask mandate in the city because he’s concerned it would prevent New Yorkers from getting coronavirus vaccinations.
“I fear this. I don’t want to see people say, ‘Oh we’re wearing masks so we don’t need to deal with vaccination,” de Blasio said Tuesday at his daily press briefing remote from City Hall.
“That’s crazy. That evades the main point. Somehow we’re having a national dialogue that has become insane,” a clearly frustrated de Blasio said.
“We have the solution to the thing that is killing so many people and is now threatening once again our ability for people to make a living. Why is this hard? Just go get vaccinated,” he urged.
Los Angeles is once again requiring people to wear masks indoors and San Francisco is strongly recommending the measure following a spike in COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant.
The Big Apple’s coronavirus caseload has doubled over the past two weeks to a seven-day average of 576 cases, but hospitalizations remain roughly flat because a majority of the population, 54 percent, is fully vaccinated, de Blasio said.
Masks are still required in schools, on public transportation and in healthcare facilities.
“I think it is a problem to say to people: ‘You did the right thing but now you’ve got to put your mask back on,” de Blasio continued at the briefing.
City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi stressed that vaccination offers “more durable protection” than face coverings.
“The vaccine is the closes thing we have to knock out punch,” he said.
De Blasio said he’d soon be announcing a “major, major campaign” to encourage parents to vaccinate their school-age children ahead of a return to in-person learning in September. He also did not rule out the possibility of vaccination mandates for high-risk settings.