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New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell in January. Photo: Erika Goldring/Getty Images

New Orleans officials issued a public health advisory on Wednesday "strongly recommending" that people wear face masks indoors, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: COVID-19 cases, driven by the Delta variant, are once again surging across the country. Earlier this week CDC Director Rochelle Walensky cited Louisiana among a handful of states with low vaccination rates that are driving a plurality of new cases.

The big picture: The new advisory is meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 but is not a mandate that will be enforced. Instead, it "puts the responsibility on individuals themselves," said Mayor LaToya Cantrell, per AP.

  • "The Delta variant is alive and very much well in the city of New Orleans," Cantrell said, Nola.com reports. "This is the most immediate thing, and the most tangible thing we can do to slow the spread."
  • The advisory comes just two months after the city lifted its mask mandate.
  • Louisiana's Department of Public Health reported 5,388 new cases on Wednesday.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DeSantis sues Biden administration over contractor vaccine mandate

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced a lawsuit against the Biden administration's order requiring federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: This is the Republican governor's latest attempt to undermine federal vaccine requirements, with the lawsuit alleging that such measures are a "radical intrusion on the personal autonomy" of U.S. workers.

Vaccine benefits outweigh risks for kids, scientists say

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Polls suggest some parents are hesitant to vaccinate their young children against COVID-19, but the benefits outweigh the risks, several infectious disease doctors tell Axios.

The latest: The FDA and CDC may soon authorize Pfizer's lower-dose vaccine for that age group, with Moderna close to also seeking approval. NIAID director Anthony Fauci says he's "excited" about the possibility of broadening possible protection for 28 million more Americans.

Oct 28, 2021 - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive care unit in Rio de Janeiro in May. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.