Rise of Covid-19 renews debate on face masks in US

Officials across the United States are considering whether to use masks again at a time of high numbers of COVID-19 infections and growing public hatred of restrictions in the face of the pandemic.

Much of the debate revolves around the country’s schools, some of which have been closed due to staff shortages due to the infection. Orders to wear masks on ballot papers are being suspended or rejected at various places.

At the same time, the federal government is evaluating a supply of highly effective masks for physicians, such as the N95 and KN95. In a meeting with the press on Wednesday, Jeff Ziants, the coordinator of the White House response to Covid-19, said officials were “seriously considering options to make more high-quality masks available to all Americans.” , and noted that the government has a stockpile of over 750 million N95 masks.

“The best mask is the one you’ll wear and one you can wear throughout the day that you can tolerate in public indoors,” said Dr. Rochelle Valensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Officials in the Wyoming capital voted on Monday to end the mask-wearing mandate for students and teachers, which was in effect through September. For its part, the Cheyenne County School District reduced the isolation requirements for COVID-19, and would require that only people with symptoms and positive clinical tests stay at home for five days and Wear a mask for the next five.

The University of Missouri Board of Governors rejected the chancellor’s request to temporarily require masks on the Columbia campus as well as a specific mandate for classrooms and laboratories.

A school board meeting on Monday in Wichita, Kansas, was canceled after three new members refused to wear masks at an induction ceremony. On the other hand, in the Topeka region, elected officials rejected requests to force the use of masks and urged people to remain vigilant, but indicated they were not prepared to enforce the requirement.

Some jurisdictions are moving towards stricter mask policies, including one made from high quality materials.

Last week, the University of Arizona announced on its website that it would order the use of medical grade masks in closed spaces where keeping a healthy distance is impossible. The school notes on its website that it no longer considers cloth masks to be sufficient, although they can be used over medical grade masks to better accommodate and increase protection.

A new mandate for the use of masks indoors went into effect Wednesday in New Orleans ahead of Mardi Gras season. Daily hospitalizations of people with the coronavirus across the state of Louisiana have increased sevenfold in three weeks, an increase that has affected clinics where waiting times in emergency rooms are sometimes up to 12 hours, said director city health officer, Dr. . Avegno, according to Jennifer.

Health officials in Omaha, Nebraska, announced a temporary mandate on face masks on Tuesday, but the state warned it would sue if the measure is implemented as planned. Omaha City Council President Pete Festerson said Omaha’s majority supported the decision.

“It’s not a decision I’ve taken lightly. It wasn’t easy at all, and I think it’s going to cause some discontent,” said Douglas County health director Lindsey Hughes. The use of masks reduces transmission”.

Other places are hesitant to reactivate requirements that expired months ago. In Michigan, where officials said the state’s record numbers of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations could reach their highest levels before they begin to decline in late January or February, health officials are trying to reimpose restrictions. be reluctant to They continue to urge people to get vaccinated, put on braces, use their masks properly in public, and avoid crowded gatherings.

Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, recommends that people wear N95 or two different types of masks that fit snugly to their faces. A group of parents ordered the use of masks, as has been done at the local level in most districts, though not at the state level.

In Utah, as legislators prepare to begin their session for the year, Republican Governor Spencer Cox exempted the Capitol and other state facilities from municipal mandates for the use of masks. Democratic Mayor of Salt Lake County, Jenny Wilson, said the governor does not have the authority to exempt the policy, which mandates the use of N95 and KN95 masks or similar for one month, including in schools.