August 18, 2022

Columbia College is bringing again masks within the classroom amid an increase in Covid circumstances within the scholar inhabitants – as Philly was blasted for doing the identical regardless of being a low-risk space.

The elite school, based mostly on New York Metropolis’s Higher West Facet, introduced the transfer Sunday, citing a latest uptick in constructive circumstances. College students might be required to put on a non-cloth masks in lecture rooms as of Monday, no matter vaccination standing. 

In response to knowledge from the varsity’s Covid dashboard, circumstances within the scholar inhabitants have jumped 4 fold to 133 within the week that ended April 10, up from solely 30 within the earlier week. 

For now, the mandate solely applies to classroom settings, and there’s no phrase on whether or not it is going to be expanded if circumstances proceed to rise.

Simply two hours south of the I-95 hall, the town of Philadelphia has reintroduced its indoor masks mandate in a weird, extensively criticized, transfer for a state recording round 150 Covid circumstances per day. 

Covid circumstances at Columbia College have jumped four-fold over the previous week, however circumstances are nonetheless dwarfed by the huge surge the varsity suffered in the beginning of the semester. College students will now be required to put on masks within the classroom

Philadelphia is averaging 149 Covid cases per day as of the most recent update on Monday. The state will bring back  its indoor mask mandate on April 18

Philadelphia is averaging 149 Covid circumstances per day as of the latest replace on Monday. The state will convey again  its indoor masks mandate on April 18

‘Continued warning in sure conditions stays extraordinarily necessary, significantly in indoor social settings when the vaccination standing of attendees is unknown or unsure,’ Donna Lynne, Columbia’s Covid director, mentioned in an announcement.

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Barnard School, a girls’s school additionally on the Higher West Facet that’s partnered with the Ivy League college, reinstated its masks mandate final week amid rising circumstances.

Columbia lifted its masks mandate on March 14, simply as a lot of the remainder of the state was beginning to drop face-coverings after the winter Omicron surge.

The latest uptick in circumstances has triggered the varsity’s ‘yellow’ threat class, per its official Covid tips.

The rise in circumstances has occurred solely amongst college students within the college, with employees remaining largely unaffected. 

Final week, 133 of the 136 circumstances had been amongst college students – leaving solely three amongst employees and college. The variety of employees and college circumstances has not eclipsed ten in a single week since January.

Covid circumstances have additionally not reached this degree since late-January, when the winter Omicron surge that struck the nation lastly started to recede.

Probably the most circumstances recorded throughout this spring semester had been in early January, the place 376 circumstances amongst college students and 134 inside employees and college – of 510 complete – had been recorded by the varsity.

Columbia University lifted its on campus mask mandate of March 14 amid declining cases, but has now brought it back for classrooms as cases begin to rise once again

Columbia College lifted its on campus masks mandate of March 14 amid declining circumstances, however has now introduced it again for lecture rooms as circumstances start to rise as soon as once more

Columbia just isn’t the primary Ivy league college to endure a post-Omicron wave Covid surge.

Cornell College, in Ithaca, New York, suffered a 421 % surge in circumstances in late-March, reaching over 170 per day at its peak. 

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The college was in a position to climate the surge with minimal intervention, although, and every day figures have returned to regular ranges in mid-April.

Rises at Columbia College additionally come as New York Metropolis as a complete offers with a latest improve in circumstances that officers, whereas watching it, aren’t expressing concern over. 

The Massive Apple is recording 1,964 circumstances per day, based on a New York Occasions database, a 55 % bounce over the previous two weeks – although comparatively a lot smaller than the 40,000 circumstances averaged on the peak of the Omicron variant surge.

A return to Covid restrictions doesn’t appear possible, although, with Mayor Eric Adams lifting the town’s controversial vaccine and masks mandate final month.

Masks mandates have made a return in close by Philadelphia, although.

The Metropolis of Brotherly Love will reinstate its masks mandate for all indoor public locations, like colleges, companies, eating places and authorities buildings, beginning subsequent Monday, officers introduced this week.

It comes as circumstances have risen 86 % over the previous week to 149 per day, a really low complete for a metropolis of over 1.5 million residents. Town additionally solely experiences round 40 hospitalizations associated to the virus. 

Metropolis officers report that these figures have eclipsed sure thresholds that set off the return of a majority of these measures, however some outstanding well being specialists – and even Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) steerage – disagree that masks mandates are wanted within the metropolis proper now.

Philadelphia Public Well being mentioned on Twitter Monday that the town will now enter ‘Stage 2: Masks Precautions’, as triggered by the latest improve in circumstances. 

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‘Philadelphia’s COVID-19 response ranges enable us to be clear, clear and predictable in our response to native situations,’ Jim Kenney, mayor of Philadelphia, mentioned in a tweet.

‘Given the rise in circumstances, we’re transferring to Stage 2 on April 18 to stop larger case charges.’

Case figures aren’t thought of to be a dependable metric when judging the state of the pandemic by many federal degree officers, although.

The CDC modified its metrics earlier this 12 months, now valuing hospitalizations over all else when recommending masks orders on sure populations.

In response to the company, Philadelphia County, which incorporates the town, is without doubt one of the 95% of counties thought of to have ‘low’ Covid threat and never really useful to put on masks indoors.

‘Philadelphia reinstated masks mandate in mild of rising [Covid 19] circumstances,’ Dr Leana Wen, a public well being professor at George Washington College in Washington D.C. and a CNN contributor, mentioned in a tweet.

‘Nevertheless, CDC clearly has Philadelphia in inexperienced, or low group [COVID 19] threat. With available & efficient vaccines, why aren’t we switching from case counts to the higher metric of hospitalization?’

Some native specialists perceive the reasoning behind the choice, although.

‘I’m positive individuals wish to take pleasure in their summers with family and friends. A brief reimposition of restrictions now might assist alleviate a worse scenario when fall comes round,’ Dr Daniel Rodriguez, a public well being professor at La Salle College, in Philadelphia, advised