BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Mayor Brandon Scott sounded off on those upset over his new indoor mask mandate, which goes into effect Monday morning.
"For anyone who is frustrated about wearing a mask—and you're unvaccinated—then look in the mirror. It's your fault that we're going back to having an indoor mask mandate," Mayor Scott told WJZ. "If you're not vaccinated, shut up. Don't complain."
The mayor said people need to protect themselves and those around them and noted that even the vaccinated can spread the Delta variant.
New COVID-19 infections in Baltimore City are up 749% in just one month but deaths remain down.
In Baltimore County, leaders are holding off on an indoor mask mandate like those being reinstated in Baltimore City and Prince George's and Montgomery Counties.
"There are multiple variables we have to put into place. We've got to look at it from a public health perspective. We've got a look from a social perspective and from a legal perspective," Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Branch told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. "There's not any particular number where we say 'When it hits that number, that's what's going to be.' At this point now it is dynamic and ever-changing, and so we have to continue to look at that. So we are looking at that, and if necessary we would go that way."
"For Baltimore County, we are focused on getting vaccines in arms. That is our best tool and it's how we avoid any other steps," said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski.
The county will hold vaccination clinics at high schools starting next week. Less than half of those aged 12 to 18 here have gotten the shot.
"With school starting in a few weeks, we must increase our vaccination rates. The urgency is as great as it's ever been," Olszewski said. He noted Dundalk is lagging the county average for vaccinations. The county will hold a vaccine clinic at Dundalk High School from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
"I have several grandchildren under the age of 16 and I want our young people to be protected," said Delegate Richard Metzgar.
Baltimore County student Christian Thomas pleaded with his classmates to get vaccinated.
"Getting the vaccine is not making a political statement…but instead an opportunity to exercise a commitment to public health and safety," Thomas said. He and his brother have done so. "We got them because we want to get back to a normal school year of the things we love to do most," he said.
The U.S. Secretary of Education visited Baltimore City this week and urged vaccinations as well as a return to in-person instruction and masks inside classrooms.
Baltimore County is mandating "universal masking" in buildings for the coming school year.
The stakes are high with the dangerous Delta variant behind a surge in new cases.
"Take it from me as a Covid survivor. Getting the vaccine can truly mean the difference between life or death," Dr. Branch said. "…That Delta variant is a beast, and what we're trying to do is prevent the next one."
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