- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 21, 2022

New York City Mayor Eric Adams says he’d like city denizens to mask up again as COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses surge again this winter.

The Democrat on Tuesday also started to wear a mask of his own.

“With the holiday season in full swing and cases of COVID-19, flu and RSV [respiratory syncytial virus] rising, we are asking New Yorkers to protect themselves and their loved ones once again,” Mr. Adams said.

His administration issued an advisory urging New Yorkers to wear a mask and practice good hand hygiene, citing the confluence of viruses.

The notice said flu-like illnesses accounted for 12% of emergency room visits in the last week of November, while COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations spiked by nearly 30% around the same week.

RSV is circulating at elevated levels compared to previous years.

“The combined impact of these respiratory illnesses risks straining our healthcare system,” the advisory from the city health commissioner said.

Mr. Adams wants the Big Apple to move on from the pandemic and regain its mojo, though it hasn’t been easy.

Many offices are allowing remote work, and the resurgence of viruses this winter is a challenge for the entire country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently urged Americans to wear masks to avoid viruses in areas of high transmission.

The federal and local advisories amount to suggestions, rather than mandates, though some people have questioned whether there is evidence that masks can stop pathogens like influenza.

Some places have gone beyond voluntary measures and reimposed mandates.

Philadelphia Public Schools says it will require mask-wearing for 10 days in January, after the Christmas break.

Passaic Public Schools in New Jersey are requiring masks due to high transmission in the area, and Oakland, California, reinstated a mask mandate at government facilities.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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