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    N.Y.C.’s mayor calls for companies to require shots, as national debate over vaccine mandates picks up.

    New York City’s mayor warned on Friday that coronavirus vaccine mandates — including one for indoor dining — might be needed to encourage more residents to get inoculated to help combat the spread of the Delta variant.

    As the variant fuels outbreaks among the unvaccinated across the United States, local governments and private organizations are grappling with whether to put such mandates in place.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio said city officials have tried to convince residents to get the shot on their own, but voluntary efforts alone are no longer working, and just over 41 percent of the city’s population has yet to get a shot, according to city data.

    The mayor, a Democrat, said he wanted to consider requiring vaccinations for indoor activities, like dining in restaurants, and mandating that more city employees get vaccinated or regularly tested. He also encouraged private employers to require their workers to get vaccinated. It was not immediately clear if Mr. de Blasio has the authority to enact broader restrictions for the general public.

    “I’m calling upon all New York City employers, including our private hospitals, to move immediately to some form of mandate,” the mayor said in a radio interview on WNYC. Earlier this week he had announced that the city’s public hospital system would require employees to get vaccinated or get tested on a weekly basis.

    Mr. de Blasio’s comments came as nationally several organizations — including various hospital systems, schools, the city of San Francisco and professional football — took steps to require vaccinations.

    On Thursday, the National Football League on Thursday sent a memo to all 32 teams saying that players who refuse to receive a Covid-19 vaccine may risk their teams’ forfeiting games if they test positive and cause an outbreak.

    Nationally, new cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain far below their winter peaks, but the rapid spread of the Delta variant has led to a steep rise in hospitalizations in some spots around the country where people have been slower to get vaccinated. The number of new cases in the country has nearly tripled in the last two weeks, with an average of more than 45,000 infections now being diagnosed each day.

    Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently warned that “this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated” and that the United States had reached a “pivotal point.”

    Vaccines remain effective against the worst outcomes of Covid-19, including from the Delta variant, and experts say breakthrough infections in vaccinated people are so far still relatively uncommon.

    Still, hospitalizations are now trending upward in 45 states, and some health care centers in portions of the Midwest, West and South are struggling. Florida has recently seen the most hospitalizations for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

    The Biden administration has pursued multiple strategies to get more people vaccinated and, as that pool has shrunk, focused on more personalized efforts to reach those who have not gotten shots.

    On Friday, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, again rejected the idea of a nationwide mandate to take the vaccine, saying it is not the role of the federal government to impose that choice on people.

    “There will be institutions, there will be private sector companies and others who make decisions about how to keep their community safe. That’s certainly appropriate,” Ms. Psaki said.

    But so far, Mr. Biden has refused to encourage vaccine mandates. The president has not ordered members of the military to be vaccinated, nor has he said that federal workers will be required to get the shot as a condition of their employment.

    The administration’s hesitation reflects a belief that conservatives would view such an approach as a big-government move that might make more people resist getting a shot.

    Now, local and state officials, sports leagues, businesses, and school and hospital systems have to determine whether they will require people to be vaccinated.

    Indiana University faced a lawsuit after it instituted a vaccine requirement, but on Monday a federal judge ruled that its mandate could stand. And many hospitals and health care systems around the country have instituted mandates, from academic medical centers like Yale New Haven to large chains like Trinity Health, a Catholic system with hospitals in 22 states.

    “We were convinced that the vaccine can save lives,” said Dr. Daniel Roth, Trinity’s chief clinical officer. “These are preventable deaths.”

    San Francisco announced in June that it planned to require that all 35,000 of its employees get vaccinated, once a coronavirus vaccine receives full F.D.A. approval. Earlier this month, the city ordered municipal workers in high-risk settings like nursing homes and jails to be vaccinated by Sept. 15, regardless of whether the vaccines are fully approved by that time. Exemptions for religious and health reasons will be allowed, though they will have to take other precautions.

    Reed Abelson and Dan Levin contributed reporting.

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