Illinois mandates masks for schools amid COVID surge
- The mandate includes students from preschool through high school
- About 1.8 million children who are under the age of 12 and unvaccinated against COVID-19 would be included
- The announcement comes as Delta variant of COVID has surged in US
Governor of Illinois JB Pritzker at a press conference on Wednesday announced a mask mandate for all state students, according to US media reports. The requirement will entail a face covering for all students from preschool through high school in an indoor setting.
"Preventing outbreaks from the start also prevents kids from having to stay home because they are sick or in quarantine", the Governor said, according to reports from CNBC.
About 1.8 million children who are under the age of 12 and unvaccinated against COVID-19 would fall under the newly instated mask mandate, according to the statements given by Pritzker.
Moreover, the new mandate would also include corrections facilities, veterans homes, psychiatric hospitals, developmental centers and long-term care facilities.
The new announcements come as the Delta variant of COVID-19 has gained momentum in the United States and has dominated the infection numbers for nearly two months.
According to the data released by Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker, a 46% spike in infections was recorded in the state of Illinois last week.
The Delta variant of the coronavirus now accounts for 93% of all sequenced cases in the country, according to media reports citing data released by the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
In May this year, the Delta variant only accounted for 3% of all sequenced COVID-19 cases that were recorded in the United States.
In order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19's Delta variant in the United States, federal bodies and individual states have taken substantial steps earlier this month.
According to data from the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention, just 58.2% of the eligible people are fully vaccinated against the disease.