New York To Ditch Indoor Mask Mandate While LA County Warns Its Could Remain For 'Weeks Or Months'

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Feb 09, 2022 - 04:50 PM

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is planning to lift the Empire State's mask mandate this week - what the NYT described as a "watershed moment" in New York's struggle against COVID - a decision that follows a similar move by NJ Gov. Phil Murphy made earlier this week.

According to an NYT preview of Hochul's decision (which she confirmed in an announcement released just before noon, in New York) the governor "was not swayed" by similar moves made by neighboring Democrat-controlled states (*cough* New Jersey *cough*) and is basing her decision "purely on the latest data and consultations with public health experts" - including her talks with Dr. Anthony Fauci.

On Tuesday, the governor became more comfortable with the latest metrics, which indicated that bed capacity at hospitals in the state was at about 4%, down from a peak of 23% on Jan. 2. As for masks in schools, Hochul says she will wait until March before she stops to reassess.

While NY is keeping its mask mandate in schools - for now, at least - Massachusetts has just decided that its school mask mandate will end on Feb. 28.

The decision will have a "far reaching" impact on public settings in the state, including businesses from retail shops to restaurants and malls - and workplaces as well.

Once Hochul's decision has been made, these places would no longer be required to enforce "mask-wearing" or ask for "proof of vaccination" unless they choose to do so on their own.

Unfortunately for students and their parents, Hochul's move wouldn't impact requirements that students and teachers wear masks at school. That decision is set to expire on Feb. 21, and it's unclear whether the governor wll move to extend it, or not.

"I am optimistic that we’re trending in that direction, but I still need the time," said Ms. Hochul, who met virtually with a group of school officials on Tuesday afternoon.

While plenty of New Yorkers will be relieved, in other states and counties, they haven't been as lucky. While California prepares to lift its indoor mask mandate next week, the state's most populous county - LA County - has established itself as a notable hold out, thanks to the decision-making skills of its "SJW" Director of the Department of Public Health, Barbara Ferrer.

Ferrer, who isn't a doctor and whose background focuses on health-care "access", not the actual provision of health-care, said yesterday that LA County will not follow the state's guidelines to lift masking mandates. Instead, the mandate will remain in effect for weeks, if not months, the Epoch Times reports.

Why? Well, Ferrer "clarified" the requirements for the county to drop the mask mandate for both outdoor and indoor spaces. To go mask-free outdoors, including mega-events, schools, and childcare facilities, the county has to be considered as "post-surge" - with less than 2,500 hospitalizations for seven consecutive days. In New York, the current 7-day hospitalization rate is roughly 2,900 patients. So, if that rate is "good enough" for the densely populated NYC (not to mention the rest of the state) to lift its masking requirements, why must LA County be any different?

Furthermore, Ferrer is insisting that vaccines must be available for children under 5 "for at least 8 weeks" before masking requirements are lifted. The jabs are expected to be approved for the youngest Americans by the end of this month.

That's bad news for anybody who plans on attending the Super Bowl, which will take place in Los Angeles this weekend.

In both NY and California, hospitalizations have fallen sharply in recent weeks.

First, here's New York:

Source: NYT

And now, California:

Source: LA Times

Looking at the US as a whole, COVID cases have plunged, while deaths have more or less plateaued.

And hospitalizations have fallen sharply.

That means people in LA County might be among the last in the country to see their indoor masking requirements shot down, even as omicron cases in the US have fallen dramatically.