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Face Masks Come Back to the forefront as COVID, Flu, and RSV Cases Rise

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Face Masks Come Back to the forefront as COVID, Flu, and RSV Cases Rise

(CTN News) – Some of the nation’s top health experts are urging people to wear face masks again, but this time, it’s not simply because of Covid-19, months after most mask mandates have ended and many people have stopped doing so.

Health experts advise people to protect themselves as a triple danger of respiratory infections, including the flu, RSV, and Covid-19, sweeps the country this Christmas season: get vaccinated, wash your hands often, and in certain cases, wear a mask.

“During this rise of this tridemic, if you will, there has been a lot of ‘dust off your mask’ focused towards patients who are at greater risk of the consequences of all of these diseases – older people, individuals with any underlying illness, anybody who has immune impairment.

Put your mask back on,'” said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Division of Infectious Diseases professor and the organization’s medical director.

Even with other respiratory viruses in circulation in the Covid-19 pandemic, masking recommendations based on an individual’s risk have been at the forefront of public health discussions, according to Schaffner, “rather than saying everyone in a community has got to put their masks back on.”

“I don’t want to implement mandates because I believe you will face strong opposition and that most Americans would disregard them. Recommendations for public health must be deemed acceptable, he said.

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“It seems entirely reasonable that during these kinds of viral surges, people at risk should wear masks and be more cautious, and I add to that, particularly in this part of the country, that we should be accepting, tolerant, and even supporting people who do that, because they have a reason,” said Schaffner, who is based in Nashville.

“Don’t interpret this as a social or political remark. This remark is only relevant to health.

As the wave of respiratory diseases continues, several towns throughout the nation are contemplating putting back specific masking suggestions.

Local officials mulling over Face masks

Based on its Covid-19 community levels, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides detailed information on when masking is advised.

The organisation states that while individuals may opt to use masks at any time, it is advised for everyone to wear a “high-quality mask or respirator” when a county has a “high” Covid-19 community rating.

On Thursday, there were high community levels in around 5.66% of US counties, including several areas in Arizona, Wyoming, Oregon, and the Dakotas.

Although Los Angeles County has a high Covid-19 community level, the three parameters that would need a mask requirement have not been met, according to Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Thursday.

The county has 14.8 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents and 258 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents, although its 6.9% occupancy rate of Covid patient beds remains below the “high” standard.

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According to Ferrer, officials would consider masks once again if that figure exceeds 10%, but she is optimistic that measurements will improve before then.

She stressed community activities like wearing masks indoors when feasible and receiving Covid-19 vaccinations or boosters even in the absence of a law.

We haven’t yet hit the very risky level where the CDC has warned that you should start worrying about your hospital system, but the data indicates that we have reached a point where there is too much transmission and risk.

And right now is the ideal moment to reduce the danger, according to Ferrer.

Los Angeles County has been in the vanguard of implementing mitigation measures throughout the Covid-19 outbreak. In this situation, authorities would adhere to CDC recommendations on community levels and masking.

According to Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, “What L.A. County is doing is they’re looking at their uptick in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, and they’re seeing a trending upwards toward that high community transmission level, and they’re preparing to reimplement the guidance that goes along with high community transmission, which is to reimplement universal masking.”

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According to Freeman, every town has been examining the same guidelines to see if they are nearing high levels and may need to reevaluate universal masking.

“Now, I base all of that on the guidance’s explicit facts, but I do believe there is a risk of political division in each municipality, where elected leaders and others may or may not want to see the reinstatement of universal masking.

But we’ll have to wait and watch whether that legal gap surfaces once again,” she added. There isn’t much interest in reintroducing some of these first mitigating measures.

‘We do encourage people to Face mask.’

Three factors—new Covid-19 hospitalizations, hospital capacity, and new Covid-19 cases—are the foundation of the CDC’s Covid-19 community-level metrics for US counties.

But according to agency director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the organization is considering going back and reviewing these community levels, maybe to incorporate information on other respiratory viruses like the flu and RSV.

“At the CDC, we are aggressively investigating it. I want to convey that one does not need to wait for CDC action before donning a mask,” she added.

We know that 5% of people reside in areas with high Covid-19 community levels.

We recommend people to wear masks,” she added, adding that ill individuals should remain at home, wash their hands often, and ventilate interior places better.

After Thanksgiving, Covid-19 hospitalizations began to increase: The CDC reports that almost 34,000 hospital admissions with Covid-19 occurred in the most recent week, an increase of 20% from the week before.

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The CDC’s ensemble estimates indicate that the trend will continue to rise over the next month or two.

The CDC received reports of around 1,800 Covid-19 fatalities in the last week of November, and ensemble predictions indicate that the number of Covid deaths will stay stable for the next month or two.

As the country confronts a triple danger from Covid-19, the flu, and RSV, Dr. Anthony Fauci, resigning this month as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he is not hesitant to suggest a return to masking in certain instances.

On “NBC Nightly News” on Wednesday, Fauci stated, “I’m not talking about forcing anything.” I’m referring to using simple common sense to say,

“You know, I don’t want to run the danger of myself becoming infected and, more importantly, passing it to someone who’s a vulnerable member of my family.”

Related CTN News:

Omicron Vaccine Can be Given to as Young as 6 Months: CDC

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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