U.S. Federal Government health officials have told Americans they should wear masks again in areas with high coronavirus infection rates.
Desperate to keep the coronavirus pandemic from spoiling a third consecutive summer, federal public health officials said Wednesday that masking should return in parts of the country with rapidly rising rates of infection. But although cases have been rising for several weeks, local and state leaders have thus far shown little willingness to reimpose mask mandates, even in Democratic municipalities and states.
“We urge local leaders to encourage the use of prevention strategies like masking and public indoor setting and increasing access to testing and to treatment,” the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said at a briefing Wednesday of the White House pandemic response team.
She also said that given the efficacy of one-way masking and over-the-counter availability of testing, people did not need to wait for Government action to take action of their own.
“In areas where community levels are high, everyone should be using prevention measures and wearing a mask in public indoor settings,” Walensky said, adding that in areas of moderate community spread, people should “consider” masking as well, based on individual risk factors like age and overall health.
She noted that 32% of Americans now live in a community with high or moderate coronavirus levels, an increase of 8% since the previous week. Hospitalisations are rising, too, though deaths remain at a relatively low level, a testament to the effectiveness of treatments like Paxlovid.
Testament to Paxlovid? Pfizer will be pleased with the plug, but I’d have thought it has far more to do with the mildness of Omicron, which the CDC itself has said is 91% less deadly than Delta.