SciCheck Talks Second COVID-19 Boosters, Philly Mask Mandate on iHeartRadio Science Editor Jessica McDonald fielded questions about second COVID-19 booster shots and the possible return of Philadelphia’s mask mandate in a recent interview that aired on several of that city’s iHeartRadio stations.

McDonald spoke with Loraine Ballard Morrill, host of the Philadelphia community affairs shows “What’s Going On” and “Insight,” to discuss why the city was warning that it might reinstate its indoor mask mandate and to explain what’s known about fourth doses of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. The Food and Drug Administration authorized the shots for people 50 years and older at the end of March. 

The episodes featuring aired on April 10 (the segment starts at 7:56).

As she did in “Q&A on Second COVID-19 Boosters for Older People,” McDonald described the data underpinning the authorization, which is limited, but includes some Israeli studies that have found that another shot in people 60 years and older does seem to further reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 compared with those who received three doses.

In the iHeartRadio interview, McDonald also addressed why the city of Philadelphia had been signaling that it could bring back its indoor mask mandate. She explained that COVID-19 cases had been on the rise, and the city was very close to hitting the metrics the health department previously set up to determine when it would reinstitute required masking in public indoor spaces.

On April 11, the day after the interview aired, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced it was reintroducing its indoor mask requirement, with enforcement set to begin the following week.

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