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April 13, 2022

Around the nation: Philadelphia becomes first major U.S. city to reinstate its indoor mask mandate

Daily Briefing

The city of Philadelphia announced that it would reinstate an indoor mask mandate next week, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania.

  • California: Fitbit on Monday received FDA approval for a feature designed to detect arterial fibrillation (AFib). Fitbit's new algorithm passively monitors users' heart rate data through photoplethysmography to screen for signs of AFib while users are inactive. If the algorithm detects signs of AFib, it alerts the user of the irregular heart rhythm and prompts them to see a health care provider. "Unfortunately, AFib can be difficult to detect as there are often no symptoms and episodes can come and go," the Fitbit team wrote in a company blog post. The feature will be available to U.S. customers "soon," according to the blog post. (Cohen, Modern Healthcare, 4/11)
  • Massachusetts/New York: Pfizer on Monday named David Denton as its CFO, effective May 2. Denton, who previously served as finance chief for Lowe's, succeeds Pfizer's longtime CFO Frank D'Amelio, who announced his retirement in November. Meanwhile, Moderna on Monday named Jorge Gomez as its finance chief, effective May 9. Gomez, who previously served as Dentsply Sirona's CFO, succeeds David Meline, who will remain with Moderna throughout the transition. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, both companies have generated strong sales that have provided them with large cash cushions for their new CFOs to deploy. (Broughton, Wall Street Journal, 4/11)
  • Pennsylvania: The city of Philadelphia on Monday announced that it would reinstate its indoor mask mandate next week. According to city health commissioner Cheryl Bettigole, Philadelphia’s average number of daily new cases currently stands at 142—nowhere near the peak of the omicron surge earlier this year, when the seven-day average was almost 4,000. However, Bettigole said that if the city did not require masks now, "knowing that every previous wave of infections has been followed by a wave of hospitalizations, and then a wave of deaths, then it will be too late for many of our residents." According to a spokesperson for the city's health department, the mandate will go into effect next week and will end when case numbers drop below a certain threshold. (Robertson, New York Times, 4/121)

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