A powerful New York City lawmaker is claiming that masks should be required again indoors in the Big Apple even for the fully vaccinated, given the alarming recent rise in COVID-19 cases.
Mark Levine, chairman of the City Council’s Health Committee, told The Post on Sunday that he plans to ask the state Health Department to make the move, as well as lobby Big Apple officials to support it.
Indoor mask-wearing all around “would be extremely helpful,’’ Levine said.
“Cases are rising in NYC (up 2x+ in past 2 weeks), driven by delta,’’ the councilman wrote in a tweet over the weekend, referring to the highly contagious coronavirus variant.
“Indoor mask use in NYC is falling — in delis, stores, subways, movie theaters etc. We need to reverse this trend,” he said.
“It’s time to renew the indoor mask mandate, including for those who are vax’d.’’
Levine cited statistics in another Saturday tweet which said the daily seven-day rolling average of new city cases was 454 — while the figure was 186 two weeks ago.
The state currently requires unvaccinated people to wear masks when in public indoors, as per federal guidance, although that scenario operates on an honor system. The vaccinated still have to wear masks in some cases, including while on public transportation.
A state Health Department rep, asked by The Post on Sunday whether the Cuomo administration would consider Levine’s suggestion, responded in an e-mail, “While the numbers are still some of the lowest since the pandemic began, as the overall rate of vaccination increases and the rate of testing decreases, it’s not surprising that those individuals getting tested now are more likely to test positive.
“Those who are unvaccinated have the greatest risk of being vulnerable to variants and becoming seriously ill, which is why the New York State Department of Health urges all eligible New Yorkers to get vaccinated as soon as they are able,” the spokeswoman added.
“Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask, however, they may choose to do so.”
A city Health Department spokesman referred The Post to comments Mayor Bill de Blasio made to WNYC radio Friday when asked whether the Big Apple should return to an across-the-board indoor-mask mandate, as Los Angeles has.
“No, not at this point,” the mayor said.
He said the statistics are still low enough to stay the course, “And the reason is simple, vaccination.
“We do not have a plan to change course at this point. But we’re going to watch the data constantly to see if any adjustments are needed,” de Blasio said.
The debate comes as the White House is waging a war against what it has called false information involving the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
The nation’s top infectious-disease doctor, Anthony Fauci, asserted Saturday that smallpox and polio would still be spreading in the US if such misinformation over them was as rampant then as it is now.