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Across America, mask mandates will end this week, even in deep-blue enclaves

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Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

In response to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mask mandates in some of the last holdouts will finally be discarded as America seeks to emerge from the COVID-19 policies that have dominated political discourse for the last two years.

Beginning tomorrow, most mask mandates and vaccine restrictions will be lifted in New York City, with the bizarre exception of mask mandates for children under five years old. New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who announced the change, said, "We're far from out of the woods. COVID is still here. But we are beating it back."

The city of Boston has also dropped its mask mandate for most indoor places, with the exception of public transportation, health care facilities, and public schools. The city health board has scheduled a meeting for March 9th to discuss whether masks will continue to be required in Boston public schools. Los Angeles also lifted their mask mandate last week, ending potential sources of embarrassment for mayor Eric Garcetti, who has repeatedly been photographed violating his own mask mandate. Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, along with numerous other large cities, are also following suit.

Other reticent, Democrat-controlled jurisdictions are following suit. For example, Maryland will end its mask mandate in the state legislative chamber, offices, and other state buildings on Monday as well. Masks will be "encouraged but not required" in those areas.

Some colleges and universities are also following suit. Michigan State University announced Friday that it would lift mask restrictions in some on-campus areas beginning today. Notably, however, masks will still be required in classes. Even the state universities in Oregon, one of the most COVID-paranoid states in the union, announced that they would lift mask mandates in the upcoming week.

These jurisdictions have pointed to the updated CDC guidance to explain their change in tone. However, critics have pointed out that no new research has been conducted showing that masks are any more or less efficacious than they ever have been, and circumstantial evidence suggests that the CDC may have been subjected to political pressure by Democrats who are concerned that continuing COVID restrictions would cost them at the ballot box in 2022.

At the end of this upcoming week, the number of jurisdictions in this country still enforcing a mask mandate will likely dwindle to a small handful of holdouts.

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