Will Big Drop in Common Viruses Lead to Masks Forever?

Isolation for unwell could be maintained after the pandemic. But isolation, distance and masks don’t work for many children, Vehec said.

Children who have speech problems do not see their teacher’s mouth to learn to speak correctly, for example.

“I think it has been a necessary evil because of the pandemic, and I have completely supported it, but it has come at a price. It had consequences, ”she said. “Children’s education suffers, among other things.”

And with covid vaccines not available to children for some time, it could be another year of masks in schools.

Some experts, such as researchers trying to improve masks, argue that more companies should embrace masking – as some Asian countries have. But even infectious disease experts like Dr Ricardo Franco of the University of Alabama-Birmingham doubt it is practical.

“I’m a little skeptical that this crisis will be enough for a widespread culture change, given the difficulty in achieving a reasonable culture change in the previous months,” Franco said.

The most realistic framework for lasting change may lie within health care itself.

Doctors and nurses generally did not wear masks before Covid. Dr Duane Harrison, who runs an emergency department for an HCA hospital outside of Nashville, mentioned a fellow doctor who has been wearing a mask since leaving medical school.

“We used to joke and clown with him about it,” Harrison said. “Until that.”

Now that everyone is wearing masks, Harrison’s department has found the same thing as many other workplaces: Employees don’t call in sick, unless it’s covid.

“When the covid is over, it’s a practice most of us will likely continue,” Harrison said. “Because we won’t be worried about runny nosed children and old people who don’t know they’re sneezing in their faces.”

Some hospital systems, including Nebraska Medicine, have started to relax universal masking requirements for their staff. But even vaccinated staff should still wear a mask when seeing patients. Intermountain Healthcare in Utah reported that masks will continue to be required when a statewide mandate is lifted in April.

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Jothi Venkat

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