NYC Mayor Eric Adams masks up as city’s health department recommends coverings – Daily Mail

New York City‘s Mayor Eric Adams was spotted donning a face mask Monday – an accessory he is not often wearing during public events – after the city quietly updated its Covid guidance to recommend them in all indoor public places.

The mayor donned the grey covering while he shook hands with students at the Economic Development Summit in City College of New York’s Great Hall.

He removed it when he took to the stage to answer questions from the press, before putting the covering back on to leave the room. Only a few people in the crowd and on the stage also wore masks during the conference. 

Health commissioner Ashwin Vasan urged residents to wear coverings again today because of growing cases of the virus. But he added that they ‘don’t anticipate… this wave will last much longer’.

In the advisory notice issued today, officials said all residents over two years old should now wear face masks in indoor public spaces. It added that people over 65, immunocompromised, or unvaccinated should also consider donning the coverings outdoors and avoiding crowded settings.

It is at least the third Democrat-led city to recommend face masks are used again in all indoor settings, behind both Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

New York City has the fifth largest Covid outbreak in the country, with a rate of 363 cases per 100,000 people and is at the epicenter of the emergency of an even more transmissible version of Omicron — scientifically named BA.2.12.1.

Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Connecticut all have higher Covid rates than New York City. None have re-imposed masks in indoor spaces. 

Mayor Eric Adams wore the grey mask as he shook hands with students and stood on stage at the Economic Development Summit in the City College of New York's Great Hall

Mayor Eric Adams wore the grey mask as he shook hands with students and stood on stage at the Economic Development Summit in the City College of New York's Great Hall

Mayor Eric Adams wore the grey mask as he shook hands with students and stood on stage at the Economic Development Summit in the City College of New York’s Great Hall

Mayor Adams then removed the mask to answer questions from the press

Mayor Adams then removed the mask to answer questions from the press

Mayor Adams removed the mask to answer questions from the press

Mayor Adams removed the mask to answer questions from the press

Mayor Adams then removed the mask when he took the stage to answer questions from the press. He said that the city was not yet at the point where it needed to mandate the masks

New York City's Health commissioner Ashwin Vasan said he was making the recommendation because of rising Covid cases in the community. But said officials expected the current wave to be short lived

New York City's Health commissioner Ashwin Vasan said he was making the recommendation because of rising Covid cases in the community. But said officials expected the current wave to be short lived

New York City’s Health commissioner Ashwin Vasan said he was making the recommendation because of rising Covid cases in the community. But said officials expected the current wave to be short lived

The above shows Covid case rates across states. Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Connecticut all have higher infection rates than New York City but are not recommending a return of mask mandates at this stage

The above shows Covid case rates across states. Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Connecticut all have higher infection rates than New York City but are not recommending a return of mask mandates at this stage

The above shows Covid case rates across states. Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Connecticut all have higher infection rates than New York City but are not recommending a return of mask mandates at this stage 

Less than half of 'Covid' patients in New York City were people admitted because of the virus, state data shows. This figure has remained below 50 percent since early February, statistics reveal

Less than half of 'Covid' patients in New York City were people admitted because of the virus, state data shows. This figure has remained below 50 percent since early February, statistics reveal

Less than half of ‘Covid’ patients in New York City were people admitted because of the virus, state data shows. This figure has remained below 50 percent since early February, statistics reveal

Mayor Adams told the conference today: ‘As we get off our morning calls we make a decision on how we are going to be moving forward. 

‘We are not at the point of mandating masks, we are not at that point yet. 

‘We are not at the point of doing anything other than urging New Yorkers while you are indoors in large settings — social settings — to wear your mask.’

Mayor Adams suggested that New York also may not necessarily move to a ‘high’ Covid alert level should hospitalizations breach 20 cases per 100,000 people, the current threshold for doing so.

Workplace travel has decreased 20% in the US, data shows 

The number of trips Americans are making to their workplace has dropped significantly when compared to pre-pandemic figures, a new report finds, as the nation gives into ‘work from home’ culture, and employees begin to refuse to return to work – or stay in positions that require them to go to the office each day.

A new study by Work From Home Research, a research group making up economists from the U.S, UK and Mexico that hopes to gauge the feelings of the global workforce coming out of the pandemic, used phone location data to find that American trips to work every day have dropped by 20 percent when compared to pre-pandemic figures.

Survey results reported by the researchers also found that the average American employee is now working 1.5 days per week from home. Americans seem to have dug in on what researchers describe as ‘work from home culture’ as well, with 15 percent saying they would likely look for a new job if they were told they had to return to the office five days a week.

The report comes as Americans look towards a new potential workplace landscape heading out of the pandemic. Some companies, like Airbnb and Twitter, have introduced permanent work from home in an effort to entice staff to stay on-board, while others like JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs have brought employees back to the office in recent months.

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He said: ‘To just say well you wrote this on paper so you must follow it, that’s not how I govern, I govern based on what is in front of me and how to win the battle.

‘If there comes a time when our hospitals are now in a state of emergency or are trending that way and my doctors that run the hospitals tell me, “Eric, this is what we need to do”, I am going to listen to them.

‘But right now they are telling me, “no, we don’t need to do that, we have this under control, we don’t have this crisis in our hospitals”.

New York City moved to a ‘medium’ Covid alert level last week.

This did not change any rules — with masks still required on public transport — but officials warned that should they shift to a high alert level massk will again be mandated in all indoor spaces and limits on public gatherings will be put in place.

This will be triggered if it reaches 20 admissions per 100,000 people, or if more than 15 percent of hospital beds are taken up by Covid patients.

Currently the hospitalization rate stands at about 9.8, while the proportion of hospital beds taken up by Covid patients is 4.14. Both are rising.

Deaths from Covid in the city currently stand at about 0.4 per 100,000, below levels recorded in early March.

Dr Denis Nash, a public health expert at City University of New York, told DailyMail.com that it was ‘important’ to bring back masks now.

‘There’s been a pretty significant surge for quite some weeks now,’ he said.

‘There is no big increase in hospitalizations yet and deaths remain pretty level but given the magnitude of the surge that is going on right now if it did in fact trigger more hospitalizations, then we are going to wish we took steps much earlier.’

Asked whether face masks should be mandated at present, he added: ‘I think they should, but I think that is very politically fraught and politicians are afraid to go there because of the backlash they might get.’

Advising New Yorkers to start masking up again today, Vasan said on Twitter: ‘Today I’m issuing a Commissioner’s advisory urging all New Yorkers to wear a mask indoors.

‘NYC is approaching a “high” level of Covid alert, which represents high community spread [of the virus].’

But he added: ‘We don’t anticipate that this wave will last much longer, so hang in there, New York City.

‘If we all do our part, we can bring case numbers down in the coming weeks and get ready for a wonderful summer’.

They also plan to distribute 16million at-home Covid tests for free from more than 100 centers across the city.

Other Democrat-led cities also recommending people to wear face masks in indoor settings were Los Angeles, which has had the rule in place since March, and Philadelphia.

Philadelphia became the first U.S. state to bring back face masks last month, but U-turned on the rule just four days after it was imposed citing ‘low hospitalizations’.

They switched to ‘strongly recommending’ the coverings.

Democrat-led states have flip-flopped between face mask rules recently, with varying approaches on when to impose them.

It comes as cases continue to rise nationwide, with states now recording about 87,000 cases a day on average — up 19 percent on the 73,000 seven days ago. 

But Covid fatalities have fallen by about a third in a week, to around 374 being recorded every day — similar to levels last summer. 

Covid cases in New York City are beginning to trend upwards once again, though have not reached anywhere near the peak of the Omicron variant

Covid cases in New York City are beginning to trend upwards once again, though have not reached anywhere near the peak of the Omicron variant

Covid cases in New York City are beginning to trend upwards once again, though have not reached anywhere near the peak of the Omicron variant

NYC Covid hospitalizations have slightly increased in recent weeks after bottoming out in late April

NYC Covid hospitalizations have slightly increased in recent weeks after bottoming out in late April

NYC Covid hospitalizations have slightly increased in recent weeks after bottoming out in late April

Despite increasing cases and hospitalizations related to Covid - deaths in NYC have remained minimal

Despite increasing cases and hospitalizations related to Covid - deaths in NYC have remained minimal

Despite increasing cases and hospitalizations related to Covid – deaths in NYC have remained minimal

Pictured above is the number of U.S. infections reported every day. Cases are now at about 86,000 every 24 hours

Pictured above is the number of U.S. infections reported every day. Cases are now at about 86,000 every 24 hours

Pictured above is the number of U.S. infections reported every day. Cases are now at about 86,000 every 24 hours

But deaths from the virus have continued to fall. They dropped by about a third yesterday compared to last week, with about 374 now being recorded every day

But deaths from the virus have continued to fall. They dropped by about a third yesterday compared to last week, with about 374 now being recorded every day

But deaths from the virus have continued to fall. They dropped by about a third yesterday compared to last week, with about 374 now being recorded every day

Pandemic has made babies and toddlers MISS talking and reading milestones 

Infants born during the pandemic aren’t hitting the speech development milestones normal for babies their age, with new studies revealing they are talking less and signaling signs of future reading challenges.

Researchers claim that due to COVID-19 disruptions, nearly one third of elementary students will need ‘intensive support to become proficient readers.’

Two other recent studies revealed that children born pandemic are also at a greater risk for academic failure because parents haven’t been able to engage their babies and toddlers in the types of conversations that are ‘crucial for language development’.

According to Forbes, language developing conversations, such as back-and-forth dialogue, is fundamental for reading aptitude.

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Data from New York City revealed today that of the 670 patients marked as being infected with the virus on Friday, just over two in five — or 43.7 percent — were admitted because of the disease.

The rest came onto wards for another condition such as a broken leg, but later being found to be infected.

It suggests the majority of ‘Covid’ patients in U.S. hospitals are no longer people primarily ill with the disease. Experts warned, however — including Dr Jessica Justman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University — that these cases were still putting strain on the hospital system.

The proportion of Covid patients admitted due to the virus has risen in recent weeks from a low of 35 percent in late April, but it has now been below half for more than three months. There have been less than 100 Covid patients in intensive care — the most seriously ill — since early March.

Omicron — which is behind every case in the U.S. — is much more mild than previous variants, making it less likely to trigger a severe illness.

About 40 percent of infections are also asymptomatic — or trigger no symptoms —, scientists have found including in a JAMA Network Open study.

Justman told DailyMail.com: ‘I don’t think the city should raise its threshold [for activating a high Covid alert level].

‘The CDC’s threshold of hospitalizations is to be considered along with other indicators to assess community transmission.’

She pointed to the CDC’s guide to Covid alert levels, which states that its current Covid hospitalizations figures represent the strain on hospitals “regardless of the reason for inpatient care”.’

Dr Denis Nash, a population health expert at City University of New York, agreed saying warnings from the city that it could reach a high Covid alert level were not overblown.

He told DailyMail.com: ‘NYC wants to be in a place where we can absorb major surges in SARS-CoV-2 transmission like the one we are experiencing right now without concomitant surges in hospitalizations and deaths.

‘The reality is, however, that we don’t know if we are in that place, and we may not know until it is too late. 

‘So, I believe it is prudent for our health commissioner to consider these steps and others to help reduce the risk to New Yorkers.’

America is currently facing a growing outbreak of Covid with one in five states seeing their cases more than double over the past two weeks, including: Mississippi, Missouri, Arizona, Louisiana, South Carolina, Delaware, Idaho, Connecticut, Iowa and Utah.

The state’s with the highest infection rates are Rhode Island (482 cases per 100,000 people), Massachusetts (428) and Hawaii (399). On the other end of the scale is South Carolina (42), Arkansas (47.1) and Montana (48.2).

But there is serious concern over the accuracy of the data with the vast majority of states now not reporting Covid figures every day. Florida reports them once a month.

It comes after a study warned that children born during the pandemic were not hitting their speech development milestones at the times expected.

Researchers claim that due to COVID-19 disruptions, nearly one third of elementary students will need ‘intensive support to become proficient readers.’

Two other recent studies revealed that children born pandemic are also at a greater risk for academic failure because parents haven’t been able to engage their babies and toddlers in the types of conversations that are ‘crucial for language development’.

According to Forbes, language developing conversations, such as back-and-forth dialogue, is fundamental for reading aptitude.

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