Health & Fitness

Connecticut governor says Covid mask mandate can be lifted because ‘hospitals aren’t overwhelmed’

A recent sharp drop in Connecticut’s Covid hospitalizations allowed the Democratic governor there to feel comfortable dropping the state’s mask mandate, effective later this month.

“The most important metric for me is hospitalizations,” Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “We want to make sure our hospitals aren’t overwhelmed, they’re down, we got capacity, we’re able to do all the electives that we need.”

He added that because omicron cases have been less severe than cases during the delta wave, when Connecticut required masks, now is the optimal time to take face coverings off. “I think now we’re at a different place, I think the numbers say we’re at a different place, and I think the people of Connecticut have earned it.”

There are 552 patients hospitalized with Covid in Connecticut as of Wednesday, down from 1,270 hospitalizations on Jan. 27, according to figures from the state.

Connecticut is set to end its mask mandate on Feb. 28, following several other so-called blue states announcing similar moves.

  • New York lifted its statewide mask mandate Thursday, though city and school mandates remain in place.
  • New Jersey said earlier this week that students and school employees would no longer need to wear face coverings.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that vaccinated people will no longer have to wear masks in indoor spaces, starting Feb. 15.
  • Officials Delaware and Oregon also said they would withdraw some mask measures.

Lamont said Connecticut will provide rapid tests at no cost to people who are symptomatic or have been exposed to Covid, adding there’s no “absolute number” for when masks could come back on if cases were to spike higher again.

CNBC Health & Science

When asked about Republicans’ accusations that Democrats are being selective with their mantra of trusting science and are attempting to curry favor with voters before the midterm election, Lamont said the backlash is “nonsense.”

“Look where we were five weeks ago. Everybody was desperate to get their rapid test. They were waiting in line five hours in many cases. Now we’re in the backside, I hope, of omicron,” Lamont said. “The metrics are pretty clear: We can get rid of these mask mandates and we can do it safely.” He added, “If the world changes, we can change with it.”

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