A well-known security measure from the pandemic era is back as newsurface variants and outbreak cases in some parts of the US: mask required.
The number of cases of COVID-19 has increasedwith health authorities saying they are monitoring the spread . As a result, some businesses and other institutions are once again requiring people to wear masks, which have proven to be an effective tool in slowing the spread of the virus.
As with vaccine requirements, cities and states have largely relaxed mask mandates as the rate of COVID-19 has declined since its peak in 2022. In February, for example, New York state dropped its requirement that face coverings be worn even in healthcare facilities, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after most other local businesses had already voluntarily lifted the mandates.
“There will be no party”
Morris Brown College in Atlanta announced this week that the small liberal arts school is reinstating its mask mandate for two weeks, citing cases of COVID among students. According to the statement of the president of the faculty, dr. Kevin James, the school has required all students and staff members to wear masks since Tuesday. The faculty is also imposing limits on the size of events, including parties, and continuing infection-tracing efforts.
“There will be no parties or large student events on campus for the next two weeks,” the school said. The faculty also urges students who test positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate for at least five days and to attend classes virtually during the isolation period.
The latest CDC data shows a 30% increase in hospitalizations for COVID-19 across Georgia, due to the spread of new strains.
In California, as the number of virus cases in Los Angeles rises, the film studio Lionsgate is reimposing a mandate for masks in the offices of its headquarters in Santa Monica, Deadline is the first reported. Lionsgate said a number of employees had recently tested positive for COVID-19, according to the report.
Lionsgate is also revising other security measures. All employees must complete a daily self-exam for COVID symptoms before reporting to the office, according to the deadline. Employees with symptoms or those who have recently returned from international travel are asked to stay home and notify the company’s response manager, the publication said, citing an internal company email.
Lionsgate was not immediately available for comment.
As of Aug. 12, 330 Los Angeles County residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the city department of public health.
Some experts fear it will be difficult to convince Americans to don masks again, even as the number of COVID cases continues to rise. dr. Danielle Ompad, an epidemiologist at NYU’s School of Global Public Health, said “it’s like putting the genie back in the bottle.” Nevertheless, she personally recently started wearing a mask again in crowded places where the risk of exposure is higher.
“If I was with people who aren’t trained in public health, I would wear a mask, especially in a crowd, because I really don’t have time for COVID. Mask mandates are challenging because they really skew people out of proportion to the issue.”
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