New York City will require proof of Covid-19 vaccinations for guests at restaurants, shows and gyms, starting August 16 in a phased manner.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the new requirements on Tuesday, making New York the first big city in the US to draw these battle lines as the Covid-19 delta variant surges. People will have to show proof of at least one vaccine dose.
“The goal here is to convince everyone that this is the time. If we’re going to stop the delta variant, the time is now. And that means getting vaccinated right now,” de Blasio said Tuesday.
On the country’s western edge, San Francisco and six other Bay Area counties have reinstated a mask mandate in public indoor spaces – irrespective of vaccination status.
Even in the deep south, states are bringing back mask mandates in indoor public settings, including in schools and colleges.
The fall semester is fast approaching and America’s schools and colleges are under intense pressure to outline policy amidst rising infection rates and tough pushback from multiple flanks on masking and vaccines.
As on Monday, 70 per cent of American adults have gotten at least one shot. The latest numbers come at a time of Covid-19 cases surging 6x over the last 30 days. Florida’s hospitals are being overrun. The state crossed 11,000 hospitalized patients Tuesday.
The current average daily nationwide caseload is running at 85,000 per day, the highest level since February. Deaths have climbed over the past two weeks from an average of 254 per day to 386. In recent weeks, more than 95 per cent of hospitalization and deaths have been among the unvaccinated, according to the White House.
“If you’re not going to help, at least get out of the way of people trying to do the right thing,” US President Joe Biden told Republican governors blocking mask mandates in the name of freedom.
The Covid-19 virus has killed more than 614,000 Americans from the time it first arrived on the US West Coast in January 2020.