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Mayor Eric Adams on possible reinstitution of mask mandates: "We are staying prepared and not panicking"

Mayor Adams says he doesn't intend to restore indoor mask mandates
Mayor Adams says he doesn't intend to restore indoor mask mandates 02:02

NEW YORK -- Mayor Eric Adams said Wednesday he has no intention to restore an indoor mask mandate, even as the COVID-19 case load has pushed the city into the "high" alert phase.

CBS2's Tony Aiello has more on how the mayor is defending his position.

"We're staying prepared and not panicking," Adams said.

Adams was clearly trying to project an attitude of calm in the wake of COVID cases pushing the city to an elevated alert level.

The Department of Health is recommending but not requiring masks indoors and for the vulnerable masks also in crowded outdoor settings.

"I'm wearing it because of myself and other people. I'm afraid of giving it to somebody," Riverdale resident Lawrence Lagumina said.

"At this point, I think we know what to do and how to take care of ourselves, so I don't think the mandate should be ... available," Dorie Chiello added.

The economy is clearly a factor in the mayor's decision-making matrix.

"If every variant that comes we move into shutdown thoughts, we move into panicking, we're not going to function as a city," Adams said. "When I look at the hospitalizations and deaths, the numbers are stable."

Adams says that's due in large part to vaccines. The city Department of Health says 79 percent of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated, and 38 percent have received a booster.

For those testing positive, President Joe Biden's administration has reported a "dramatic" increase in the use of the anti-viral treatment Paxlovid.

"About four-fold increase just in the last month -- and our latest estimates are that about 20,000 prescriptions of Paxlovid are being given out every single day," White House COVID coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said.

Adams said renewing a mask mandate in city schools is under review, but is not currently necessary. Only pre-K students too young to be vaccinated are required to mask up.

The city is currently in the fifth wave of the pandemic. The city's health commissioner said this week he does not anticipate the wave to last much longer.

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