WILDWOOD, Mo. — The mayor of Wildwood, Missouri, said the city will not enforce the mask mandate set to take effect in St. Louis and St. Louis County on Monday.
In a Facebook post, Mayor Jim Bowlin said he would utilize a new city resolution to suspend city ordinances that would enforce the mandate.
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, both Democrats, announced the new mandate Friday, saying it would take effect on Monday.
The joint announcement came as the fast-spreading delta variant is helping fuel an increase in COVID-19 cases in the area and the state. Missouri health department officials have issued six virus “hotspot” warnings, with the latest one forecasting the spread to continue from southwest and central Missouri up toward the St. Louis area.
"Today we learned from press reports (but no publicly published rules) that STL County and City are implementing another mask mandate - this one including everyone whose been vaccinated and generally based on a "new COVID variant" that relates to other locations," Bowlin said in the Facebook post. "This means that, going forward, we can be required to wear masks in perpetuity without regard to all those who chose to be vaccinated and simply because of an uptick in COVID rates "from here and there". How long could that last?"
This week said the CDC estimated 83% of cases in the United States were the delta variant.
The mask mandate is already getting pushback from others days before it goes into effect. St. Louis County Councilmember Tim Fitch said the council could move to terminate the mandate as early as Tuesday, and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said he would file a lawsuit on Monday to stop the mandate.
Comparing the data
With a mandate returning to the city and county, 5 On Your Side pulled data from the last time a requirement was put in place to see how COVID-19 numbers compare to now.
We used data from the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force on July 3, 2020 (the date the first mask mandate was enacted), May 14, 2021 (the date the mandate was lifted) and July 23, 2021 (the date the second mask mandate was announced).
In many cases, the data shows hospital numbers from this Friday are double – or more – what they were on July 3, 2020.
New hospital admissions*
- July 3, 2020: 24
- May 14, 2021: 24
- July 23, 2021: 55
Seven-day moving average of hospital admissions
- July 3, 2020: 19
- May 14, 2021: 30
- July 23, 2021: 49
Seven-day moving average of hospitalizations
- July 3, 2020: 145
- May 14, 2021: 204
- July 23, 2021: 281
Confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations
- July 3, 2020: 159
- May 14, 2021: 176
- July 23, 2021: 318
Confirmed COVID-19 positive patients in ICUs
- July 3, 2020: 44
- May 14, 2021: 62
- July 23, 2021: 99
Confirmed COVID-19 positive patients on ventilators
- July 3, 2020: 23
- May 14, 2021: 28
- July 23, 2021: 57
*Task force note: One hospital system is undergoing a computer system upgrade and could not report this number for Friday, July 23.
“We’ve lost more than 500 St. Louisans to COVID-19, and if our region doesn’t work together to protect one another, we could see spikes that overwhelm our hospital and public health systems,” said Dr. Echols in the Friday afternoon news release.