Is concealment back? As new variants of the coronavirus emerge, here’s what the experts are saying.

like Three new variants of COVID-19 Spreading across the country, many people are wondering: Are masks making a comeback?

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not announced new mandates for masks, some are Schools and businesses are back in business That’s a familiar rule in the age of the pandemic — and depending on your situation, experts say you might want to consider it, too.

“People over 65 and immunocompromised should strongly consider wearing masks during flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) season, and COVID-19,” said Dr. Celine Gunder, medical contributor to CBS News and senior public health editor at KFF. their presence in indoor public spaces. Health News. “As for everyone else – it all depends on how much risk they take.”

CBS News’ chief medical correspondent, Dr. John Labock, says he likes to use the “weather report analogy” for the general public.

What’s the weather like today? If it’s raining, you might want to bring an umbrella. If you’re in an area that’s seeing an uptick in airborne respiratory infections such as Coronavirus, influenza, or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).“You may want to take extra precautions, such as wearing a quality mask in indoor public spaces,” he said.

COVID variants and masks

After hospitalizations for the coronavirus rose nearly 22% this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Expect further increases Over the next month with the spread of new variants. This replaces the agency’s previous forecast that admissions “will remain stable or have an uncertain trend.”

in 2021 60 Minutes interview.Virologist Paul Dubrex explained the emergence of new current (and future) variants – a concept that applies to the current situation.

“Is there anything we can do to prevent the virus from mutating so dramatically?” LaPook asked Duprex at the time.

“We can certainly prevent it from causing as many mutations as possible by preventing it from infecting as many people as possible – if we prevent transmission, if we wear a mask, if we get vaccinated, if we do social distancing,” Dubrix said.

After news emerged about the BA.2.86 variant earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the agency’s advice on protecting yourself from coronavirus (COVID-19) — which includes wearing a high-quality mask between people Other recommendations Listed on their website – “Still the same”.

When deciding when to be particularly careful, Labocque said he’s thinking about what he’s going to do over the next two weeks.

“If I really couldn’t stand the disease, or if I were to see someone who is at increased risk of a bad outcome if they get infected, I will take extra precautions,” he said.

However, some experts fear that it may be difficult to get Americans to wear masks again even if coronavirus cases continue to rise. Dr. Daniel Umbad“It’s a bit like putting the genie back in the bottle,” said the epidemiologist at New York University’s School of Global Public Health. However, I have personally started wearing a mask again recently in crowded places, where the risk of exposure is greater.

“If I’m with people who aren’t trained in public health, I’ll wear a mask, especially in crowded situations, because I don’t really have time to deal with coronavirus. Mask mandates are a challenge because it makes people really unfit not proportionate to the question.”

Gunder added, on “CBS Mornings” Friday, that she will be getting dressed for an upcoming trip, and says others may want to do the same.

“Who wants to get sick while on vacation?” Says. “If you’re going to be in a crowded public place — like a crowded subway, plane, or theater — those are the places I would consider at least wearing a mask.”

Although increasing cases and hospitalizations prompt precautions to be taken, Gunder says she does not see another lockdown in our future.

“That ship has sailed,” she said. “It has been sailing for years.”

— Megan Cirullo contributed to this report.

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