NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday he does not plan to reinstate a citywide mask mandate even as COVID-19 cases increase.
There have been calls for New York City to follow the lead of Los Angeles County, which announced last week that it will require masks be worn indoors amid a sharp increase in virus cases, but De Blasio insisted vaccinations are a better strategy for the nation’s most populous city.
“Masks have value, unquestionably, but masks are not going at the root of the problem. Vaccination is,” the mayor said during an livestreamed press briefing. “So we do not intend a mask mandate. We do intend to double down on vaccination.”
There are 4.8 million city residents with at least one vaccine dose.
Across the Hudson River, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he’s not ready to reinstitute mask requirements, now or when schools are back in session in September.
The Democrat made his comments Monday as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended a “layered approach” that includes masks in school for children over age 2 regardless of vaccination status.
State health commissioner Judy Persichilli noted the rate of positive test results has risen recently for children up to age 13, and most sharply in children 4 and under. Currently, children 12 and over are eligible to be vaccinated.
Murphy said he “is comfortable where we are” on mask mandates but is closely monitoring developments.