Philadelphia said Monday is bringing back its indoor mask mandates for public places, schools and daycares amid an increase in COVID-16 cases and hospitalization.

The mask mandate will officially return on April 18. The city’s previous mask mandate was dropped March 2, less than two months ago.

“If we fail to act now, knowing that every previous wave of infections has been followed by a wave of hospitalizations and a wave of deaths, it’ll be too late for many of our residents,” Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said, referring to the virus’ BA.2 variant, which is spreading across the country. 

“This is our chance to … put our masks on until we have more information on the severity of this variant.”

In Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania city of roughly 1.5 million people, the most recent, seven-day average for new cases was 142 and 44 for hospitalizations.

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