Mask Mandates Make a Comeback

As the specter of COVID-19 continues to loom, America is witnessing a resurgence in mask mandates. This development sparked a heated debate, with some health experts advocating for their return, while others question their efficacy.

A significant concern driving this renewed call for masks is the improper use of face coverings. Many individuals wear masks incorrectly, failing to cover both their mouth and nose or only donning them for brief periods.

Prominent voices in the medical community, such as Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist based in Washington DC, have urged high-risk individuals, including those over 65 years old, to start wearing masks again.

He even suggested President Biden, at 80 years old, should consider masking up when in crowds or on the campaign trail.

However, not everyone agrees with this approach. Some experts argue most people now possess a level of immunity against the virus and there’s no evidence suggesting new variants are more likely to cause severe disease.

They point out while patient numbers are increasing, these individuals are experiencing milder forms of the virus compared to earlier stages of the pandemic.

Adding fuel to the fire is the emergence of the new COVID variant BA.2.86, which sparked fears of a fresh wave of infections.

This variant has over 30 mutations on its spike protein, potentially making it better at evading the immune system. Despite these concerns, there’s currently no evidence to suggest that this strain is more likely to cause severe disease or death.

In response to these developments, several institutions have reintroduced mask mandates. Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Santa Rosa, California, and Upstate Community Hospital in Syracuse, New York have mandated masks for doctors, nurses, patients, and visitors.

Even Hollywood studios and colleges are following suit, with Lionsgate and Rutgers University among those reinstating mask requirements.

While these measures may seem prudent to some, they’ve also raised questions about the effectiveness of masks. Several studies have pointed out that COVID can still permeate through certain types of coverings, casting doubt on their ability to prevent transmission.

This article appeared in The Political Globe and has been published here with permission.

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Written by Western Reader

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