Miami-Dade County will require all residents to wear masks inside county facilities, effective immediately, amid the surge in COVID-19 cases linked to the highly transmissible delta strain of the coronavirus.
Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the new mandates come amid an “alarming” rise in COVID-19 case across the region, including an uptick in positive test results and hospitalizations. The Democratic mayor said almost all of the admissions are among unvaccinated residents.
“The facts are clear: The vast majority of those who are now ending up in the hospital due to COVID-19 are unvaccinated, and many are otherwise healthy young people in their 20s, 30s and 40s,” Levine Cava wrote on Twitter. “We have come too far and sacrificed too much to turn back now. Our economy is just beginning to rebound and it’s essential that we build on the progress we have made. We all must do our part to control the spread and to keep our loved ones safe and our community moving forward.”
Every state in the nation is seeing a rise in coronavirus cases, despite the country being months into a mass vaccination campaign. A vast majority of those cases, 83% as of last week, are linked to the delta variant, which has upended reopening plans and prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend masks in some regions across the nation again, regardless of vaccination status.
Public health officials have stressed that vaccines remain a highly effective measure to prevent severe cases and death associated with COVID-19, even against the delta variant. The director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, has spent the past several weeks describing the current phase of the virus as a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” releasing troubling statistics showing 97% of hospitalizations are among those who haven’t been protected by a vaccine.
Levine Cava added that she strongly recommended “everyone wear masks in large crowds or closed spaces, especially around people that we do not know to be vaccinated.” The mayor also called on businesses to reinstate COVID-19 policies and encouraged those who have yet to get vaccinated to do so.