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NYC restores indoor mask mandate as omicron spreads 

On Friday, the CDC placed all five boroughs back into the high-risk category

July 8, 2022 4:43pm

Updated: July 8, 2022 6:21pm

New York City is bringing back its indoor mask mandates on Friday as all five boroughs move to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) high-risk category for COVID community spread. 

Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island had been in the CDC’s high-risk category for the latter half of May. However, by June, they all transitioned to medium as infection rates and hospitalizations declined. 

On Friday, the CDC again placed all five boroughs back into the high-risk category. 

The high-risk category means everyone is recommended to wear masks indoors and in public settings, regardless of vaccination status. 

"We're currently seeing high levels of COVID-19 in NYC," reads a tweet by the agency. "To help slow the spread, all New Yorkers should wear a high-quality mask, such as an N95, KN95, or KF94 in all public indoor settings and around crowds outside."

Covid-19 variant BA.5, an omicron descendant, seems to be more transmissible than earlier strains and more resistant to the vaccines. 

BA.5 accounts for more than 40% of all positive Covid-19 samples collected in The Big Apple and 54% of the total cases in the U.S.

The seven-day positivity rate is currently at 14.6%, the highest since January of this year. Some areas of New York, including the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island, are seeing rates over 20%. 

"A new variant, new variants, are finding their way into the city," New York City Mayor Eric Adams said. "And as it comes about, as they come about, we continue to pivot and shift."

"We're now looking at and bringing in experts from all across the globe, and finding out, how do we continue to prepare New Yorkers and Americans in dealing with the pivoting and shifting of COVID?" the mayor added.

The new wave is spreading beyond New York City. More than one-fifth of all U.S. counties are designated as high-risk by the CDC.