Mask mandates will not be coming to Texas and Florida, based on posts published by the states’ governor and Surgeon General, respectively.
Mandate discussions are gaining steam on online platforms and otherwise as institutions are gearing up to reintroduce the mask—part of the COVID restrictions brought about after the pandemic spread all over the world.
As of Aug. 12, the seven-day average is 1,802 new hospital admissions with confirmed COVID-19, according to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) data. There has been a gradual uptick observed over the past months, but nothing significant. During the previous seven-day average, taken Aug. 5, the number was at 1,481, indicating an increase of over 21 percent.
The lowest seven-day average was taken on June 23, with 899 new hospitalizations, while the highest was recorded at the beginning of the year. On Jan. 3, the number was at 6,688. Compared to that, the latest week’s average is over 73 percent lower.
Omicron EG.5 is the most prominent variant, making up over 20 percent of COVID mutations currently in the United States.
The ‘Election Variant’As prominent institutions like Morris Brown College, Hollywood studio Lionsgate, and Kaiser Permanente require staff and people on their premises to wear masks, people have mostly opposed the directive on social media.
“I hear that the Covid-19 Election Variant may be coming back. I Will Not Comply,” Republican Kari Lake said in an Aug. 23 post on X.
The use of “election variant” comes in the context of the 2020 election—during the COVID pandemic—when many states expanded voting procedures, including mail-in ballots, to accommodate lockdown restrictions.
“In the 2020 election, 69 percent of voters nationwide cast their ballot non-traditionally—by mail and/or before Election Day,” according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Meanwhile, some Hollywood celebs have started promoting mask-wearing.
“COVID is on the rise. SO MANY friends now are really sick. BE MINDFUL. WEAR A MASK if required or even if you feel unwell and are out in public spaces,” Oscar winner Jamie Lee Curtis said in an Aug. 22 Instagram post showing an image of the actress with a mask.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson responded to Curtis’ mask promotion by stating, “Enough medical fascism.”
The ‘Science’ of MasksUnlike the previous COVID period when the disease and related restrictions were unknown, there have been studies and evaluations done since then regarding the issues.
In 2020, after the pandemic, recommendations for wearing masks suddenly changed “without having any new professional support to confirm that it does indeed have effectiveness against respiratory infection.”
According to a CDC’s science blog, “An N95 FFR [filtering facepiece respirators] user is always going to experience some level of difficulty breathing, or breathing resistance, even though these devices are designed to minimize breathing resistance as much as possible. Enough breathing resistance could result in a reduction in the frequency and depth of breathing, known as hypoventilation (the opposite of hyperventilation).”
Hypoventilation causes “significant discomfort” for N95 mask wearers. It is only recommended to wear them for less than one hour of continuous use.
“When HCWs are working longer hours without a break while continuously wearing an N95 FFR, blood CO2 levels may increase past the 1-hour mark, which could have a significant physiological effect on the wearer,” including headache; increased pressure inside the skull; nervous system changes; increased breathing frequency; cardiovascular effects and reduced tolerance to lighter workloads.
Meanwhile, the CDC expects the latest updated versions of COVID vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax to be made available in September-October.
The shots need approval from the CDC and FDA. Officials will recommend the shots to American citizens ahead of the fall, along with the other annual shots.
“Our goal, our imperative, our task is to make sure we’re using those tools,” the CDC official said, cited CNBC. “Vaccination is going to continue to be key this year because immunity wanes and because the Covid-19 virus continues to change.”