KHN Morning Briefing
Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
CBS Philly: Philadelphia Reinstating Indoor Mask Mandate After Moving Into Level 2 Of 4-Tiered COVID-19 Response System
Philadelphia has become the first major U.S. city to reimpose an indoor mask mandate.
The city said Monday it’s reached the Level 2: Mask Precautions stage of its four-tiered COVID-19 response system, and that it will reimpose the mask mandate on April 18. Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said the city will provide businesses with a one-week educational period before the mandate goes back into effect. (4/11)
In related news about mask mandates —
Axios: U.S. Universities Reinstate Mask Mandates Amid COVID Concerns
Universities nationwide are reinstating mask mandates amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
The American University announced Monday it would reinstate its mask mandate in all Washington, D.C., campus buildings starting April 12. It joins Columbia, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins and Rice universities, which have also recently reinstated mask policies, according to the New York Times. The highly transmissible BA.2 subvariant of Omicron has sparked concerns about a possible surge. (Shapero, 4/11)
Axios: Biden Official: Mask Mandate For Airplanes Could Be Extended
Extending the federal transportation mask mandate that applies to airplanes, buses and trains is “absolutely on the table,” Ashish Jha, the White House’s new COVID-19 response coordinator, said Monday on the Today Show.
The transportation mask mandate was extended last month but is currently set to expire on April 18. Jha stressed that the decision to extend the transportation mandate lies with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky. (Saric, 4/11)
In other updates on pandemic restrictions and relief —
The Hill: Biden Seeks To Resume Federal Worker Vaccine Mandate
The Biden administration on Monday asked a federal appeals court to clear a procedural hurdle that remained after a key legal victory last week and allow the administration to quickly resume enforcement of its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees.
The request to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, if granted, would effectively reinstate the public health policy after it was put on hold across the country in January by a federal judge in Texas. (Kruzel, 4/11)
Georgia Recorder: Georgia Rolls Back Precautions Two Years After COVID-19 Shut Down, Leaving Some Vulnerable
State Sen. Donzella James’ voice isn’t as strong as it used to be. In January 2021, James tested positive for COVID-19. She thought it was just her chronic bronchitis, but the next morning, she found herself in a crowded emergency room.
After subsequent bouts of pneumonia and blood clots, she finally left the hospital in May. James, an Atlanta Democrat, remains vigilant about COVID-19 today. “I saw people every day dying all around me,” she said. “I am concerned because I know far well what that COVID can do to you.” (Voytek, 4/11)
WUSF Public Media: Advocates Urge Congress To Extend Pandemic Relief That Provides Free School Meals To Kids
Public health advocates are calling on Congress to extend a waiver program that was implemented early in the coronavirus pandemic to provides free meals to students, including millions of children in Florida. The waivers are set to expire at the end of this school year.
The federal government gave schools more flexibility in how and where they could deliver meals and increased reimbursement rates to cover more kids and in some cases healthier food options. If the waivers expire at the end of June, children could lose out on an important source of nutrition, according to Jamie Bussel, senior program officer with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (Colombini, 4/11)