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Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a mandate Wednesday requiring that all residents wear a mask while indoors in a public place, per Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The decision comes as Georgia has seen a steady rise in COVID-19 cases due to the prevalence of the delta variant across the country.
“Public health experts overwhelmingly agree, and data has proved, that wearing a face covering helps slow the spread of this deadly virus,” Bottoms said in a statement. “As COVID-19 rates increase, we must remain vigilant, wear a mask, follow CDC guidelines and other measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our communities.”
The decision comes one day after it was reported that the CDC was considering a mask guidance revision, which would recommend that people, vaccinated included, “resume wearing masks indoors under certain circumstances.” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said earlier this month that the recent rise in cases can be linked to those who have chosen to not receive the vaccine.
“This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Walensky said. “We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk and communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well.”
The Georgia Department of Public Health reported last week that the 7-day average for new COVID-19 cases eclipsed 1,000 for the first time since late March, while hospitalizations are the highest since April. According to FOX 5 Atlanta, seven counties in Georgia were considered to be “Delta danger zones,” all except Heard County are located in the southern part of the state.
Savannah mayor Van Johnson announced Monday that mask mandates were being reinstated in response to what he called a “steep and alarming” spike in cases. As of Wednesday, 38 percent of Georgia’s population is fully vaccinated, and 45 percent have received at least one dose.