New York City enters ‘high’ COVID-19 alert level

Photo by Chenyu Guan on Unsplash

THE New York City Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene on Monday, May 16 issued an advisory strongly recommending that all New Yorkers wear masks in all indoor public settings as the city approaches the ‘high’ alert level.

NYC health officials are asking individuals, regardless of vaccination status or past COVID-19 infection, to wear a mask at all times when indoors and in a public setting, including at groceries, building lobbies, offices, stores, and other common or shared spaces where individuals may interact such as restrooms, hallways, elevators, and meeting rooms.

A high alert level means that there is high community spread, putting substantial pressure on the health care system as case and hospitalization rates escalate. These heightened precautions will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep more New Yorkers out of the hospital while community spread remains high.

The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also advised all individuals to take measures to reduce their risk of COVID-19, especially the Delta and Omicron variants and subvariants, including proven public health and social measures such as wearing well-fitting masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, improving ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowded spaces, and getting vaccinated.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene also urges all residents to use high-quality masks such as KN95 and KF94 masks and N95 respirators. Their advisory further notes that individuals at high risk of severe illness – those who are over 65 or who are unvaccinated –should avoid crowded settings and limit get-togethers

In addition, the advisory notes that the impact of COVID-19 transmission is higher in settings with a high number of unvaccinated people.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Monday, May 16 said that the city is not ready to reinstate its indoor mask mandate, saying that he is watching the situation closely.

“We’re not at the point of doing anything other than urging New Yorkers while you’re indoors in large set-in social settings. We’re not going to panic. We’re going to continue to be prepared,” Adams said. n

Momar G. Visaya

Momar G. Visaya is the Executive Editor of the Asian Journal. You can reach him at

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