The People’s CDC calls for the federal government, the CDC, and local leaders to act urgently to follow Philadelphia’s lead in prioritizing public health by implementing data driven mask mandates.
Philadelphia’s decision is consistent with public health’s goal to prevent and reduce the harm of the escalating COVID surge, not wait until hospital beds, ICU’s and morgues are filled.
The current pandemic landscape includes a D.C. super-spreader event among vaccinated elite, new studies showing that “COVID affects major organs in the body in ways we never dreamed of,” and testing and vaccine sites across the country closing. Over 200,000 children have been orphaned by COVID and 23 million children are still unable to be vaccinated. Federal reimbursement for tests, vaccines & treatment for the uninsured ended 2 weeks ago and those who can’t afford to test will be forced to go to work and attend school while contagious and/or in contact with others who are.
As Philadelphia’s Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole explained: “If we fail to act now, knowing that every previous wave of infections has been followed by a wave of hospitalizations, and then a wave of deaths, it will be too late for many of our residents. We’ve all seen here in Philadelphia, how much our history of redlining, history of disparities has impacted, particularly our Black and Brown communities in the city.”
Our leaders must act now and implement mask mandates as part of a layered approach to safeguard health and address the pandemic burden on Black, Brown and disabled communities as well as children. Failure to act quickly in this environment is a failure of leadership and contrary to the foundational principles of public health.