Officials around U.S They are pondering whether they will impose the use of masks again at a time of high number of infections of COVID-19 and growing disgust of the public for restrictions in the face of the pandemic.
Much of the debate revolves around the nation’s schools, some of which have been closed due to staff shortages due to infections. In various places, orders to wear masks are being suspended or rejected in ballots.
At the same time, the federal government is evaluating supplies of highly effective masks for physicians, such as the N95 and KN95. In a media meeting Wednesday, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said authorities were “seriously considering options to make more high-quality masks available to all Americans.” , and noted that the government has a stockpile of more than 750 million N95 masks.
The best mask “is the one that you will wear and the one that you can wear all day, that you can tolerate in public indoors,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Officials in the Wyoming capital voted Monday to end a mask-wearing mandate for students and teachers that had been in effect since September. For its part, the Cheyenne County School District reduced isolation requirements for COVID-19, and will require that only people with positive symptoms and diagnoses – not just those who were exposed to someone infected – stay home for five days and the next five wear masks.
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 labs.
A school board meeting was canceled Monday in Wichita, Kansas, after three new members refused to wear masks to an induction ceremony. On the other hand, in the Topeka area elected officials rejected a request to force the use of masks and urged people to be cautious, but indicated that they were not willing to impose the requirement.
Some jurisdictions are moving toward stricter mask policies, including one that is made from higher-quality materials.
Last week, the University of Arizona announced on its website that it will order the use of medical grade masks in closed spaces where it is impossible to keep a healthy distance. The school noted on its website that cloth masks are no longer appropriate, although they can be used over medical grade to better accommodate and increase protection.
A new mandate for the use of masks indoors went into effect Wednesday in New Orleans ahead of the Mardi Gras season. The daily hospitalizations of people with coronavirus throughout the state of Louisiana have increased sevenfold in three weeks, an increase that has affected clinics, where sometimes waiting time in emergency rooms is up to 12 hours, according to the director City Health Officer, Dr. Jennifer Avegno.
Health authorities in Omaha, Nebraska, announced a temporary mandate on face masks on Tuesday, but the state has warned it will sue if the measure is imposed as planned. Omaha City Council President Pete Festersen said a majority of Omaha supported the decision.
“This is not a decision I made lightly. It wasn’t easy at all, and I think it’s going to create some discontent, ”said Douglas County Health Director Lindsay Huse. “However, it is an instrument that we have at our disposal. We have research and evidence showing that the use of masks reduces transmission. “
Other places are hesitant to reactivate the requirements that came to an end months ago. In Michigan, where authorities said record numbers for COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state could reach their highest levels in late January or February before starting to decline, health authorities remained reluctant to reimpose restrictions. or force the use of masks. They continue to implore people to get vaccinated, to put on braces, to use their masks correctly in public, and to avoid crowded gatherings.
Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, recommended that people wear N95 or two different types of masks that fit snugly on their faces. A group of parents asked that the use of masks be ordered, as has been done in most districts locally, although not at the state level.
In Utah, as legislators prepared to begin their sessions for the year, Republican Governor Spencer Cox exempted the Capitol and other state facilities from the municipal mandate for the use of masks. Jenny Wilson, the Democratic mayor of Salt Lake County, said the governor lacks the authority to grant waivers from this policy, which mandates the use of N95 and KN95 masks or similar for one month indoors, including in schools.