NEXSTAR (NEXSTAR) – The COVID-19 public health emergency may be over, but the virus’s propagation is not. COVID hospital admissions increased by 21% last week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.v
Some folks who haven’t worn a COVID mask in months are wondering if they should dust off their N95s in preparation for the summer influx.bring the COVID mask back
We questioned three doctors if they believed the increased number of infections and hospitalizations suggested masks were now necessary. The logic hasn’t changed for Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert at UCSF.bring the COVID mask back
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Given the volume of the virus that is now spreading, Dr. Sherif Mossad, an infectious disease expert at Cleveland Clinic, advises people 65 and older or immunocompromised to use masks in big gatherings, especially indoors.bring the COVID mask back
If you’re going to mask up, make sure it’s a good one, according to Dr. Anand Parekh, chief medical advisor at the Bipartisan Policy Center. N95 masks feature stronger filtration than cotton masks and hence prevent small virus particles from entering your system.bring the COVID mask back
“If residing in a community where public health officials note a significant escalation in cases and the individual is at high risk or lives with a family member at high risk,” Parekh added, “one should consider the use of high-quality masks (e.g., N95) in public.”
When you discover a large number of COVID instances in your neighborhood, Chin-Hong suggests asking yourself the following questions: “Are you over the age of 65 or immunocompromised, and have you not been infected or vaccinated in the last 6 months?” Do you live with someone who is at high risk of contracting a severe infection? Are you looking forward to a trip (that long-awaited trip to Europe), a performance (Beyonce), or a family reunion that you cannot miss?”
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Wearing a mask can help dramatically reduce the odds of catching COVID (or other airborne infections) if you don’t want to risk becoming sick, infecting someone in your family, missing a Beyonce performance, or calling out sick from your child’s birthday party, according to Chin-Hong.
Large indoor gatherings and public transportation are the “highest risk areas to consider for wearing a mask,” according to Chin-Hong.
“Of course, if you’re in the same enclosed space as someone coughing or sneezing (and not wearing a mask), move as far away from them as possible,” Mossad said. “If you can’t, then wear a mask – and politely offer one to them!”
With the current increase in instances, additional firms and organizations, including a few Kaiser Permanente hospitals and a few of college campuses, have urged their staff to put masks back on.
Summer spikes of COVID-19 may be the new normal, according to Jill Rosenthal, director of public health policy at the Center for American Progress. “We’ve had a summer wave of COVID for the last few summers, so an increase in COVID right now is not surprising.”
While more individuals interact indoors during the winter (which is known to promote the transmission of the coronavirus), more people travel and socialize overall during the summer. Furthermore, in hotter sections of the country, individuals are more prone to mingle and spend time indoors than outside.