Tulsa mayor says no to mask mandate, calls for vaccinations

August 6, 2021 GMT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said Friday that he would not re-issue a mask mandate, despite a surge in COVID-19 cases, and he called for the unvaccinated to get inoculated.

“We are not going to mask our way out of this surge,” Bynum said. “This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. ... it is unvaccinated people who are getting the virus.”

The Tulsa Health Department reported 2,337 new COVID-19 cases for the seven-day period that ended Wednesday, which was up from 361 just a month ago.

The state Department of Health reported 2,303 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, including 965 that required hospitalization. Health officials have said that more than 90% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 weren’t fully vaccinated.

The rate of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients in intensive care units was even higher, said Dr. Anuj Malik, the infectious disease medical director at Ascension St. John Medical Center in Tulsa. All but one of the hospital’s 21 ICU patients were unvaccinated, and that person had had only one dose of a two-dose drug, Malik said.

The seven-day daily average number of new COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma was 1,907, according to the health department. Oklahoma had the seventh-highest infection rate of any state as of Friday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.