A full scale Boston Marathon began Monday morning for the first time since 2019. The 126th running had 30,000 registered participants and a post-race party at Fenway Park.
Boston does not have any Covid mandates in place for the event. Mayor Michelle Wu suggested spectators wear a mask because case counts are rising. The positivity rate in the city hit 6.2 percent last week, above its 5% “threshold of concern”.
“It’s important that we take steps to protect ourselves and those around us,” Mayor Wu said.
It’s a very different story in Philadelphia, where a new indoor mask mandate began today. The Public Health Commissioner said the city remains open and residents should continue their normal activities, but she felt masks are necessary to prevent a surge in hospitalizations.
“I suspect that this wave will be smaller than the one we saw in January. But if we wait to find out to put our masks back on, we’ll have lost our chance to stop the wave,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said announcing the mandate.
Philadelphia has a four-level system that activates based on Covid case loads and hospitalizations. The city was operating in level one: all clear. Now it’s operating in level two: mask precautions. There is no timeline for ending the mandate, as Covid cases need to drop back below 100 per day. The city was averaging more than 140 new cases per day when the new rules were put in place.
Covid cases are rising in other major cities, but for now, those cities have not introduced public health restrictions. For instance, new Covid cases jumped 15 percent in Los Angeles last week compared to the week before, but the Director of Public Health has only asked residents to consider wearing a mask indoors.
New York City uses a tiered system similar to Philadelphia’s, but it is based on CDC thresholds. Because New York City is averaging fewer than 200 new Covid cases per day per 100,000 residents, it has remained at a low alert level.
Support for mask mandates is waning, according to a recent Axios/Ipsos poll. The poll found 44% of Americans support state and city mask requirements. That’s the first time the number dipped below 50% since the outlet started asking that question in Aug. 2021.