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this messy timeagain in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Consider this: Cases of Covid-19 are on the rise in the US must be a transferable option yet from the coronavirus. Re-infections are also present and may increase the likelihood new health problems. There is even President Joe Biden infected with the virusforcing him to operate in isolation from the White House.
Each of these events is worrisome in its own way. However, none of them shook the public consciousness like previous pandemic news. In CNN’s latest national pollCovid-19 was the top issue of concern to only 26% of voters, far behind the economy, abortion and the climate crisis.
There’s a good reason for this: It’s important proportion of Americans have been vaccinated – although a smaller percentage receive a booster – and there are new treatments offering better outcomes for those infected with the virus. While Biden’s age puts him at risk for severe Covid-19, for example, given these developments, his experience with the coronavirus should look very different from that of President Donald Trump, who has been hospitalized for days. October 2020. (Biden, doubled over, takes antivirals Pakhlovidand his doctor wrote On Sunday, his “symptoms continue to improve significantly.”)
But with a subvariant able to overcome vaccination or immunity from recent Covid infections, the days when we put Covid-19 on the backburner may be numbered.
Take, for example, Los Angeles, the second most densely populated city in the United States. Health officials say LA County’s high community rate of Covid-19 means universal closed masking mandateand could go into effect as soon as this week. Although daily reported cases are falling, with about 6,700 new cases a day, Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week that community levels would have to drop to “moderate” levels by July 28 to avoid a July 29 indoor mask requirement.
It’s not just LA that is reacting to the rising number of cases and hospitalizations. The share of the United States population living in a county with a “high Covid-19 Community Level” where the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal indoor masking has doubled in the past two weeks. As Americans move to faster at-home testing, the official case count reflects only a fraction of the true disease burden.
That’s why there is a renewed debate about indoor masking Bostonfor example recommending a new mask earlier this month. However, much depends on local politics, and the nature of such measures, especially mandates, remains a matter of debate.
For more information about this, Dr. Leana Wen, CNN medical analyst and professor of public health at George Washington University. Below is our conversation, conducted via email and lightly edited for brevity and brevity.
What is important: Does the recent spike in Covid-19 cases warrant a rollback of indoor mask mandates?
WHEN: There is a big difference between the recommendation that individuals wear masks and the government-imposed mask requirement. Government requests for public health measures should be used very sparingly for emergencies where there is no other option. This is not the time.
I worry about undermining confidence that when a mask mandate is truly needed—if there is a more lethal option, or if hospitals are once again overwhelmed—there will be no appetite to adopt mitigation measures at this point.
What is important: What should lawmakers consider when considering whether to re-implement indoor mask mandates?
WHEN: Now there are other tools besides mask mandates. This is not 2020. I would advise legislators to use other tools that are very effective in reducing the likelihood of severe disease but do not have this kind of backlash—for example, why growth enhancers and Pakhlovid? Why not call for a trial before meetings?
What is important: On an individual level, at this point in the pandemic, when should we wear a mask and when can we leave it on?
WHEN: It depends on the individual and how much they want to avoid Covid-19. Those who prefer to avoid infection should continue to wear masks – but make sure they use an N95 or equivalent (KN95 or KF94), that it fits, and that they use it in all indoor public places.
There are those who prefer not to avoid Covid because they are well protected against severe disease due to vaccines and treatments; they may not want to wear their masks even if there is a high level of transmission in their environment. This is why government mask mandates are pointless this point in a pandemic.
What is important: What else would you like to add about any of these?
WHEN: While it is true that masks reduce the risk of virus transmission, mask requirements are highly controversial. I urge legislators to focus on tools that don’t create such a public backlash and make as much difference as government-imposed masking.