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Experts say masking can fight the ‘triple infection’. can anyone hear me | | US News

Masking feels like a thing of the past in the US. Even cities like New York and Los Angeles used to take precautions.But as medical facilities grapple with A “triple demic” of respiratory viruses – As Covid, influenza and RSV surge simultaneously, experts once again appeal to the public Wear a face covering.

“I never go to the grocery store without a mask,” said John Swartzberg, clinical emeritus professor of infectious diseases and vaccinology at the University of California, Berkeley. I never went to a plane or airport without a mask, nor did I attend a concert or other crowded outdoor event without one.

Still, after nearly three years of mixed messages from officials, many Americans appear to have moved away from Covid, with the president saying:the pandemic is over” Hundreds of people die every day, will anyone listen?

As of December 2nd, CDC reported An average of 4,201 Covid hospitalizations and 254 deaths over the seven days. Meanwhile, flu and his RSV season came unusually early, with flu hospitalizations at their highest in the last decade. December 2nd, Agency report 8.7 million flu cases this season, including 78,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths. John Swartzberg, clinical professor emeritus of infectious diseases and vaccinology at the University of California, Berkeley, said the worst is yet to come, given that Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and many more holiday gatherings are on the horizon. He says he has not.

The good news: “Masks work against Covid, masks work against RSV, masks work against the flu, masks work against other respiratory viruses,” Swartzberg said. say. “They really help keep people from getting infected and prevent the consequences of that infection.”

Abraar Karan, an infectious disease expert at Stanford University, agrees. number of the study,Recent”natural experiment” Compares masking and non-masking schools in Boston.

“Masks help reduce the risk of acquiring the virus,” says Curran. N95s, KN95s, and KF94s provide excellent protection. His own experience speaks to their effectiveness. Over the years he treated Covid patients, which allowed him to avoid infection. “When I got infected, it was actually from someone who got sick in my house,” he says.

When it comes to Covid, vaccines work well against serious illnesses but are less effective against infections.Masks provide an important additional line of defense. As for other less contagious viruses like influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, he says, “the majority disappeared when we took mitigation measures” such as masking early in the pandemic. But after withdrawing such measures, “we are now seeing an upward trend.”

But as anyone who’s been to the grocery store or taken the subway in the last few months knows, when you try to find someone wearing a mask these days, where’s Waldo? And that’s unlikely to change anytime soon, according to Sarah Wallace Goodman, a political scientist at the University of California, Irvine, and co-author of Pandemic Politics.

A product stall filled with free N95 respirators provided by the Department of Health and Human Services outside a pharmacy in Jackson, Mississippi. Photo: Rogelio V Solis/AP

“The pandemic has really hurt public confidence and health officials. And there’s long-term staying power in that sort of thing,” says Goodman. I never did. For example, a “common understanding” of “Treat your masking like a raincoat or an umbrella. Take it out when you need it, put it down.” If not, please stay away.

Meanwhile, the message about masking has been “delegated” from treating it as a matter of community reaction to treating it as a matter of individual choice. “It’s really hard to disentangle that message and say it’s no longer a personal choice. Especially in America, we are very against such a message,” she says.

Benjamin Rosenberg, a social health psychologist at Dominican University in California, wishes he’d heard more from social scientists as the government’s message about the pandemic took shape. At the moment, however, Rosenberg, who studies psychological reactance, studies “what happens when people are told what to do” and finds that the wording of orders and demands to comply does not lead to action. He claims it doesn’t do much to change.

Still, there are other ways to increase mask use. “In general, people like to choose their actions. We want to have a will. We want to be able to choose our actions and the decisions we make.” On the other hand, pushing masking in a “softer and more encouraging way” would say “you’ll actually have this freedom. There are several reasons why you might consider wearing it.

As for the message, Curran said public health officials need to be “more forthright” in their message that “masks reduce the risk of infection.” Governments can also help by increasing the availability of masks. Not everyone has access to masks, and “sometimes I forget to take them. I wish there was a quick way to get them before I entered a particular space.”

Goodman also sees benefits in “meaningful community interactions.” It would be great if Joe Biden kept wearing a mask, but seeing his neighbors wearing one would likely have a bigger impact, she says. ”

Ultimately, Swartzberg said, a cultural change is needed to “normalize masks to some extent and make people feel more comfortable wearing them in certain situations.” Such large-scale changes are not unprecedented. The 1918 influenza pandemic Expanding women’s rightsHe points to the growing role of women in the workforce at the time.

“When you look back at history, it’s like, ‘Why are masks politicized in this country? “But we are in the process of making history right now.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/dec/10/masks-tripledemic-covid-flu-rsv-us Experts say masking can fight the ‘triple infection’. can anyone hear me | | US News

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