Face masks are back at the forefront amid the triple threat of Covid-19, flu and RSV

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CNN

It’s been months since most mask requirements ended and many people stopped wearing them, but some of the country’s leading health experts are urging people to put them back on. increase.

With the trifecta of respiratory illnesses – influenza, RSV and Covid-19 – sweeping the country this holiday season, health officials are urging them to get vaccinated, wash their hands frequently, wear masks in certain situations, and more. , calling on people to take precautions.

“Much attention has been given to patients at high risk for complications of all these diseases: the elderly, those with underlying medical conditions, and those with compromised immune systems. But Will, there was a lot of “dust” from your mask. Put your mask back on,” said Dr. William Schaffner, professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

At this stage of the Covid-19 pandemic, individual risk-based masking recommendations have been at the center of the public health debate, despite the prevalence of other types of respiratory viruses. I’ll be back,” Schaffner said.

“I don’t want to go to the power of attorney because I think a lot of the United States. There will be a lot of backlash and people will ignore it. Public health recommendations need to be accepted,” he said. Added.

“During this kind of virus surge, the idea that people at risk should wear masks and be more cautious seems perfectly reasonable – and I especially He adds that in this part of the country, we are accepting, tolerant, and indeed should be. Schaffner said.

“Please don’t take this as a political or social statement. This is purely a health statement.”

Some communities across the country are considering reinstating certain masking recommendations as the wave of respiratory illness worsens.

of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides specific guidance on when masking is recommended based on Covid-19 community level.

Officials said people could choose to wear masks at all times, but if Covid-19 community levels in the county were “high,” a “high quality mask or respirator” would be recommended for everyone. I’m here.

as of thursday, 5.66% of US counties It has a high community level, including several locations in Arizona, Wyoming, Oregon, and Dakota.

Los Angeles County has high Covid-19 community levels but has not reached all three indicators that would trigger mask mandates, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Thursday.

The county has 258 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people and 14.8 hospitalizations per 100,000 people, but continues to have a “high” level of staffed Covid patient beds of 6.9%. She said it was below.

Ferrer said officials would consider masks again if that level climbed above 10%, but he hopes the metric will improve by then.

Even if it wasn’t required, she wore a mask indoors whenever possible and emphasized community efforts like getting Covid-19 vaccines or boosters.

“We haven’t hit the ultra-dangerous threshold where the CDC says ‘We really need to start worrying about hospital systems,’ but we’ve hit the threshold and all the data shows this. That means there are too many infections, and that creates a lot of risk, and now is the time to mitigate the risk,” said Ferrer.

Through the Covid-19 pandemic, Los Angeles County has been at the forefront of implementing mitigation measures. In this case, the agency will follow CDC guidance on masking and community level.

“What the County of Los Angeles has been doing is noticing an increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, we are seeing a trend towards higher levels of community transmission, and we are prepared to re-enforce guidance accordingly. said Lori Tremmell Freeman, CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

According to Freeman, all communities are considering the same guidance and whether they’re approaching high levels, and may need to reconsider universal masking.

“Now I say everything on the purely factual basis of the guidance, but elected officials and others may or may not want to see a reimplementation of universal masking. I think it could turn into a political division of communities on a community-by-community basis again. There is not much desire for some of the mitigation efforts to be reimplemented.”

New York state officials are encouraging schools and communities to take preventive measures like wearing masks indoors and in public as RSV, Covid-19 and flu spread. letter From Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett and Education Commissioner Betty Rosa.

A letter issued Monday warned of multiple respiratory viruses straining state health facilities.

The number of flu hospitalizations in New York has more than doubled and the number of laboratory-confirmed flu cases has nearly tripled in the past three weeks, according to the letter.

“In response, we are urging a whole-of-community approach, including schools, to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses and protect young children, the elderly, and those with underlying medical conditions this holiday season and winter. We urge you again to take the precautions you can,” the commissioner wrote.

The letter says schools and communities should encourage people to wear masks indoors, get vaccinated, and wash their hands frequently.

“We encourage schools to utilize their local health departments as partners and resources in this work,” the commissioner said. “Together, we will ensure a healthy and safe holiday season for all students in our state.”

CDC’s Covid-19 community-level indicators for U.S. counties are based on three things: new Covid-19 hospitalizations, hospital capacity, and new Covid-19 cases. But officials are revisiting those community levels, possibly to include data on other respiratory viruses such as influenza and RSV, Dr Rochelle Walensky said Monday.

“This is something the CDC is actively investigating.

“We know that 5% of the population lives in places with high Covid-19 community levels. We encourage people to wear masks,” she said, adding that people can He added that people should stay home, practice good hygiene, including washing their hands frequently, and improve ventilation in indoor spaces.

Hospitalizations due to Covid-19 begin to rise after Thanksgiving. In this past week he has had more than 34,000 hospitalizations with his Covid-19, a 20% increase from the previous week. According to the CDCAn ensemble forecast from the CDC predicts continued increases over the next month or so.

About 1,800 Covid-19 deaths were reported to the CDC in the last week of November, and ensemble forecasts predicting Covid deaths will remain stable for the next month or so.

Dr. Anthony Fauci going down As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases this month, he said he is not afraid to recommend a return to masks in some circumstances as the country faces the triple threat of Covid-19, influenza and RSV. Stated.

“I’m not talking about forcing anything,” Fauci said. said on Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News. “I’m talking about the common sense saying, ‘I don’t want to risk getting infected, much less risk infecting vulnerable members of my family.'”

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