Home Health News Sharp Decline in Flu and Colds Has Experts Wondering if Masks Will Stick Around After Pandemic Ends

Sharp Decline in Flu and Colds Has Experts Wondering if Masks Will Stick Around After Pandemic Ends

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Tamir Kalifa/Getty A person in Austin, Texas, wears a masks

As the COVID-19 pandemic raged in the U.S., masks became key to reducing the virus’ spread. But they did extra than simply stop individuals from getting or spreading COVID-19 — in addition they seem like the explanation why cases of the flu, cold and other respiratory diseases are down significantly in the last year.

And as a post-pandemic future turns into extra clear with the vaccine rollout nicely underway, health specialists are questioning if masks will stick round in the U.S. after COVID-19 is lastly in the rear view.

Recent research and knowledge have proven that respiratory diseases in kids have sharply declined during the last yr, when most youngsters both did digital studying at dwelling or have been required to put on masks in school. A examine printed in the Journal of Hospital Medicine in March seemed on the variety of pediatric sufferers hospitalized for respiratory diseases in 44 kids’s hospitals throughout the U.S., and discovered that it had declined by 62% this yr.

RELATED: Only One Child Has Died from the Flu This Season Compared with Nearly 200 Deaths Last Year

Meanwhile, knowledge from the Centers of Disease Control on this yr’s influenza season present a monumental distinction. Typically, round 100 to 200 kids die of the flu every year — in the course of the 2019 to 2020 flu season, 195 youngsters died — however up to now this season, there has been just one child flu death in the U.S.

“I think that that obliteration of the flu epidemic, which was seen globally, tells us that the way that influenza is transmitted from one person to another might really have been impacted by the use of masks, more than anything else,” Flor Munoz, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ infectious-diseases committee, informed the Washington Post in early March.

RELATED: See Which States Have Opened Up COVID Vaccine Eligibility to All Residents Over Age 16

Adult flu deaths are additionally down considerably. Depending on the severity of the flu pressure that emerges every season, complete deaths range from 12,000 to 61,000 a year. So far in the 2020 to 2021 season, the CDC has reported simply 219 deaths.

“I think this has clearly shown that masking, distancing, hand-washing — all these things clearly work,” Aaron Milstone, an epidemiologist and professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, informed the Post. “So I think the question will be, how much appetite do people have for all that to prevent influenza, instead of just COVID.”

RELATED VIDEO: 11-Year-Old Making Masks for Healthcare Workers Surprised With Money for New Sewing Machine

Milstone, and different health specialists, have expressed skepticism that Americans will likely be keen to proceed carrying masks after the pandemic. Though they’ve been widespread in Asian nations lengthy earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it has been robust to persuade all Americans to put on masks, even with the lethal virus circulating.

“I’m a little skeptical that this crisis will be enough for a widespread culture change, given how difficult it’s been to achieve a reasonable culture shift in the previous months,” Dr. Ricardo Franco of the University of Alabama at Birmingham told NPR.

RELATED: U.S. COVID Cases Have Jumped 19% as Biden Urges States to Reinstate Mask Mandates

For now, with COVID-19 once again on the rise in the U.S. because the faster-spreading variants flow into, masks are essential to decreasing circumstances, even if individuals have been vaccinated. On Monday, President Joe Biden urged states to maintain or reinstate their masks mandates after Texas, Mississippi, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota and Arkansas all introduced in the previous couple of weeks that they might drop theirs.

“Please, this is not politics — reinstate the mandate,” Biden stated. “The failure to take this virus seriously is precisely what got us into this mess in the first place.”

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