As infections from the highly contagious omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus drop around the nation, many states and cities – a number of which have been staunch mandate proponents throughout the pandemic – are finally abandoning COVID mask requirements despite White House suggestions to maintain indoor mask requirements for businesses and schools. New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that she would lift the statewide mask or vax mandate for businesses on Thursday (yesterday)! Several larger cities around Massachusetts (although not Boston) have announced that they will lift mask mandates this week, while the state’s school mask mandate will expire at the end of the month. Likewise, masks will no longer be required in Connecticut or Illinois businesses as of February 28. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolek announced yesterday that he was ending the state mask mandate “effective immediately”. However, it will take until the end of March (effective March 31) before the mask mandates end in Delaware and Oregon, while the state of Rhode Island removes its mask-or-vax requirement effective today. The Mile-High city of Denver ended its mask-or-vax mandate last week, just days before it was set to expire, while only one county in the Bay Area is bucking the state and not lifting its mandate next Tuesday. Could this mean that California is turning over a new leaf? To dispel that notion, read on . . .