Monday, June 27, 2022

Health officials say parts of US may consider wearing masks

COVID-19 cases in the United States are on the rise and could get worse in the coming months, federal health officials warned Wednesday, prompting the hardest-hit areas to consider revisiting calls for indoor masking. I be requested.

The rising number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations is putting more people under guidelines issued by the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that call for masking and other infection precautions.

FILE – Dr. Rochelle Valensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 11, 2022.

Right now, growth is concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Valensky said at a White House briefing with reporters, “(But) the first rise in infection in different waves of infections suggests that it travels across the country.”

For a growing number of areas, “we urge local leaders to encourage the use of prevention strategies such as masks in public indoor settings and to increase access to testing and treatment,” she said.

However, officials were cautious about making concrete predictions, saying that how bad the pandemic gets will depend on a number of factors, including the extent to which past infections will protect against new forms.

Last week, Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 coordinator, warned in an interview with the Associated Press that if Congress doesn’t swiftly approve new funding for more vaccines and treatments, the United States could suffer this fall and winter. Will be hit by coronovirus.

FILE - White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha speaks during the daily briefing at the White House, April 26, 2022.

FILE – White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha speaks during the daily briefing at the White House, April 26, 2022.

Jha warned that a lack of funding from Congress to fight the virus could lead to “unnecessary loss of life” in the fall and winter, when the US runs out of treatment.

He said the US is already lagging behind other countries in securing supplies of the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines and added that the domestic manufacturing base of domestic testing is drying up due to low demand.

Jha said that domestic test makers have begun closing lines and laying off workers, and will start selling equipment in the coming weeks and prepare to exit the business of production tests altogether, unless the US The government may not have the money to buy more tests, like the hundreds of millions sent this year for free to the families requesting them.

Jha warned that the US would have to rely on other countries to test supplies, mitigating the risk of shortages. Jha said that around 8.5 million households have placed orders for the latest tranche of eight free tests since they were opened on Monday.

The pandemic is now two and a half years old. And the US has seen – depending on how you count them – five waves of COVID-19 during that time, with a subsequent surge driven by mutated versions of the coronavirus. The fifth wave occurred mainly in December and January, caused by the Omicron version.

The Omicron version spread more easily than the earlier versions.

Some experts are concerned that the country is now seeing signs of a sixth wave, driven by an Omicron subvariant. On Wednesday, Valensky saw a steady increase in COVID-19 cases over the past five weeks, including a 26% increase nationally over the past week.

He said hospitalizations are also rising, a 19% increase over the past week, although they are much lower than the omicron wave.

FILE - A sign promoting available COVID-19 vaccines stands outside a vaccination clinic in Providence, RI, March 3, 2022.

FILE – A sign promoting available COVID-19 vaccines stands outside a vaccination clinic in Providence, RI, March 3, 2022.

In late February, as the wave was waning, the CDC issued a new set of measures for communities where COVID-19 was easing its grip, with less focus on positive test results and in hospitals. What are you saying.

Valensky said more than 32% of the country currently live in an area with moderate or high COVID-19 community levels, including more than 9% in the highest levels, where the CDC recommends that masks and other Mitigation efforts should be used.

In the past week, an additional 8% of Americans were living in counties with moderate or high COVID-19 community levels.

Officials said they are concerned that the country’s lack of immunity and lack of mitigation measures could contribute to the continued rise in infections and diseases across the country. He encouraged people — especially older adults — to get boosters.

Some health experts say that the government should take clear steps.

CDC community-level guidelines are confusing the public, and do not give a clear picture of how much virus transmission is occurring in a community, said Dr Lakshmi Ganapathy, an infectious disease specialist at Harvard University.

When government officials make recommendations but don’t set rules, “it’s ultimately up to every single person to choose public health and work for them. But it’s not effective. Even talking about preventing deaths, all these interventions work better when people do it collectively,” she said.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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