Rising COVID-19 Cases, Revived Mask Mandates Spark Debate Over Response
Summary from the AllSides News Team
With COVID-19 cases reportedly rising across the U.S. and some institutions reinstating mask mandates, the public is again debating how to respond.
The Data and Response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 12,613 COVID-19-related hospitalizations in the week ending Aug. 12, a 21.6% increase from the previous week. Cases remain roughly 90% lower than their January 2022 peak. Public health officials in New York City and Los Angeles have reported increases in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks. Several colleges throughout the U.S., as well as some Hollywood studios, have reinstated mask mandates.
Focus on Prevention? Many on the left and elsewhere remain concerned with "long Covid" and public health measures to combat COVID-19's spread. CBS News (Lean Left bias) highlighted the potential for "a so-called 'Tripledemic' of Covid-19, the flu and RSV", and how "health officials are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and the flu."
Avoid Social Disruption? A writer for National Review (Right bias) argued that mask mandates and other government-encouraged health measures are pushed by a "cadre of professional meddlers for whom the illusion of safety under Covid restrictions was vastly preferable to all the risks that attend liberty." The writer framed masking as ineffective and "a signifier of tribal identity and cultural tastes," and highlights how "vaccination reduces the severity of illness but does not prevent transmission."
Featured Coverage of this Story
From the LeftCOVID is heating up this summer. Should we wear masks again?
The uptick in coronavirus transmission this summer has not brought major alarm from health experts.
But it is raising questions about whether the risks are high enough to go back to safety measures that many have abandoned.
Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a UC San Francisco infectious diseases expert, said transmission is increasing and “we haven’t seen the crest yet” of the wave.
But swearing off masks for good — even when sitting on a plane next to someone who is coughing or sneezing — would unnecessarily put people at higher risk for illness.
“I think there’s, like,...
From the CenterCovid Eris: What to know about new variant EG.5 dominating U.S. cases
COVID infections and hospitalizations are on the rise in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Health officials are pointing at the EG.5 "Eris" coronavirus, a subvariant of the Omicron lineage that originally emerged November of 2021.
The World Health Organization (WHO) classified EG.5, which has been nicknamed by some as "Eris", as a "variant of interest," indicating that it should be more closely watched than others because of mutations that might make it more contagious or severe.
Still, the WHO said at this time it does not seem to pose more of...
From the RightThe Return of the Mask Wars
‘Yes,” University of Texas epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina declared without hesitation earlier this month when PBS Newshour host John Yang asked if she would again recommend masking in response to a recent uptick in Covid-19 infections. “You should be wearing masks in crowded areas, especially during a surge.” But “what about at home?” or “when you’re walking on the street?” Yang asked. “So, certainly at home it works, if you want to reduce household transmission,” Jetelina replied. She did, however, admit that masking while “walking your dog” is unnecessary as long as you preserve your “distance”...