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What is the science? | Atlanta mayor lifts mask mandate

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says while she's anxious, she's following science.

ATLANTA — For the first time since June, Atlanta residents aren't required to wear masks indoors in most public places. Mayor Kiesha Lance Bottoms tweeted Monday that the indoor mask mandate would be lifted after looking at the science. They will still be required at City facilities.

As of last Friday, the Georgia Department of Public Health, said the average positivity rate for COVID-19 cases in Fulton and Dekalb Counties is 2.9% with an average of 91 cases per 100,000 people.

The city is actually showing better numbers than the entire state, which has a positivity rate of 3.7% over the last two weeks. According to the World Health Organization, a rate of 5% or below is required to be considered a low rate of community transmission. 

Despite the mandate being lifted, some residents said they'll continue to mask up.

“I just have gotten so use to wearing it every day. You see signs that say ‘put your mask on’ its mandatory," said one resident.

RELATED: Mayor lifts city-wide mask mandate after Atlanta moves to 'green zone' for COVID

In the mayor's tweet Monday, she said that while she's following science, the move makes her anxious and some medical experts agree.

“We have a decrease in cases, but its largely because of the mask mandate so lifting a mandate may prompt a surge," explained Nephrologist Dr. Frita Fisher.

Bottoms issued the executive order in late July when the Delta variant was beginning to accelerate. It applied to restaurants, salons, grocery stores, and public property. During that time, the state's case rate was nearly doubling every week. The statewide vaccination rate was also hovering at 38%. As of Tuesday afternoon, Georgia is now at 50% fully vaccinated.

The chart below shows the breakdown of those fully vaccinated, unvaccinated, and those who have only received a first dose.

Credit: GA DPH
The chart shows vaccinations rates in Georgia as of Nov. 9, 2021.

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