Public health authorities in New York City are recommending locals and visitors wear a mask again due to the high level of COVID-19 transmission in the Big Apple.
The New York Department of Health tweeted out the advisory on Friday, and requested that “all New Yorkers should wear a high-quality mask, such as an N95, KN95 or KF94 in all public indoor settings and around crowds outside” to help slow the spread.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each of the city’s five boroughs — Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island — are classified as places of “high” community transmission.
The advisory comes soon after a Columbia University study found that newer subvariants of the omicron strain are more adept at evading the protections provided by vaccines and antibody treatments. These subvariants are also highly transmissible due to mutations in the spike protein, researchers said, with subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 making up more than 50% of new cases in the U.S.
“Our study suggests that as these highly transmissible subvariants continue to expand around the globe, they will lead to more breakthrough infections in people who are vaccinated and boosted with currently available mRNA vaccines,” chief researcher David D. Ho said, according to a release from the university.
WNBC, the NBC network station in New York City, reported that Long Island has the highest reinfection rate (7.3 per 100K) over the last week, with New York City (6.9 per 100,000) not far behind.
Health officials also caution that those who decide to wear a mask should make sure it goes over the nose and not just the mouth.
For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.