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Indoor masking on campus will be reinstated on April 18, 2022. Credit: Jesse Zhang

Mask mandates are seeing a return in the United States amid the latest surge in COVID-19 cases across the country.

This trend toward indoor masking arrives as the highly transmissible BA.2 subvariant has become the dominant version of COVID-19 in the U.S.

The rise in positive cases has pushed several universities to reinstate their mask mandates. American University, Columbia University, Georgetown University, and Johns Hopkins University each announced plans to reinstate mask mandates, The New York Times reported

With COVID-19 cases increasing by more than 50% in the last 10 days, Philadelphia became the first major city to reinstate the indoor mask mandate, effective April 18. The city also moved to Level 2 of its COVID-19 response levels.

On April 11, Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health announced the city was averaging 142 new cases per day, NPR reported. Philadelphia's decision to reinstate the indoor mask mandate marks a reversal of the optional masking policies many cities had embraced in early March.

In the eight days leading up to the announcement, more than two dozen states across the U.S. have seen a rise in COVID-19 cases, CBS News reported.

On Wednesday, Penn announced that indoor masks will again be required on April 18. Starting on March 15, masking indoors had been optional with the exceptions of the classroom, healthcare spaces, and on Penn Transit.

From the week of April 3 to April 9,  Penn's campus-wide positivity rate was 8.64% and a total of 385 people tested positive.