Some states in the US have reintroduced mask requirements due to an increase in cases of Covid, seasonal flu and other respiratory illnesses.
Hospitals in California, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York have reintroduced the mask requirement for patients and healthcare workers.
New York City health official Dr. Ashwin Vasan said yesterday that masks were made mandatory in 11 public hospitals, 30 health centers and 5 patient care facilities in the city.
Vasan said, “The last thing we want is staff shortages. In the Omicron wave in 2022, our health workers as well as the public fell ill,” Vasan said.
According to the latest data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 29,000 people were hospitalized with Covid nationwide from December 17-23. This figure corresponds to an increase of at least 16 percent compared to the week before.
In the same period, over 14,700 people were hospitalized with influenza across the country.
Berkshire Health Systems in Massachusetts required masks on Wednesday, and hospitals and health centers in Los Angeles, California, on Monday.
Hospitals in Chicago, the largest city in Illinois, also introduced the mask requirement last month. Authorities are also negotiating to extend the practice to the public sphere.