Philadelphia recommends masking indoors due to uptick in Covid cases

Doctors say BA.2 is more infectious than the first omicron strain but isn't more deadly.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As doctors predicted, COVID-19 case numbers are ticking back up due to a rapid spread of the latest omicron variant BA.2.

"I think it's a little better than I anticipated. I expected to see higher numbers in the hospital than we're seeing right now. At Reading Hospital, we have three inpatients with Covid, much less than what we saw at the peak in mid-January when we had 150 cases," said Dr. Debra Powell, chief of infectious diseases for Tower Health Reading Hospital.

Doctors say BA.2 is more infectious than the first omicron strain but isn't more deadly. They also say this new variant makes up for 60% of infections in Maryland, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia is reporting more than 90 new COVID cases per day.

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As doctors predicted, Covid-19 case numbers are ticking back up due to a rapid spread of the latest omicron variant BA.2.



"When we first got here, we were probably seeing maybe two to three people a day. Now I may get 40 people a day," said Baiyimah Hakim, site lead at Curative, a company that runs testing sites in the region.

The last two weeks at the Curative testing site in Rittenhouse Square have been busier than usual.

Employees attribute the rise in testing to the BA.2 variant and heavy spring break travel.

Now, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health is recommending people wear masks indoors again.

"I get that everybody has to wear a mask to be safe, but how long do we have to wear it?" questioned Iris Kessler of Center City.

Doctors say they expect case numbers to continue to spike, but say another shutdown or mask mandate isn't necessary just yet.

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