A medical analyst with MSNBC said Friday Americans “just need to mask up” again, saying “it only makes sense” due to the flu, COVID-19 and RSV.
“Public health officials need to accept that we — and I know that they privately communicate this all the time, it’s just that we need to have the courage to say this publicly, even if it’s unpopular, that — that communities, especially with hospitals, children’s hospitals that have little stock in their system, need to protect those hospitals,” Dr. Vin Gupta, an affiliate assistant professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the University of Washington, told guest host Yasmin Vossoughian. (RELATED: ‘Nothing New’: CNN Medical Correspondent Pushes For Mask Wearing To Protect Against Flu)
“Schools need to — to lead by example and mask. School officials, I’m looking at you, public health officials at the local level, it only makes sense,” Gupta continued. “It’s our only buttress here, in addition to vaccination, and we need to do it.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in February it would no longer recommend masking while indoors.
Medical experts warned of a “tripledemic” caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), the flu and COVID-19, which could strain hospitals across the country, Prevention reported. Over 23,500 people were admitted to hospitals in the week ending Dec. 10 for flu, according to the CDC.
Vossoughian noted that “the reality on the ground” included the fact that people would be resistant to wearing masks, especially for children in schools, after they were able to remove them and go back to “normal.”
A Research Square study released in July found that masks were ineffective in preventing COVID-19 transmission in schools, while many parents raised concerns that mask mandates and a shift to remote learning reduced the academic progress of children.
“I think that’s a small price to pay,” Gupta responded. “Unfortunately, you’re right — there isn’t — I’m not saying that there won’t be some degree of discomfort, inconvenience and sacrifice.”
Gupta raised the specter of children’s hospitals being overwhelmed with flu, RSV, and COVID-19 cases, adding that the shortage of various medications made getting vaccines to lessen symptoms crucial.
The rate of cases of RSV requiring hospitalization spiked the week ending Nov. 12, the CDC reported. Just under 31,600 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the CDC.
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