Cases of COVID-19 in the US are increasing, leading to a number of school districts, especially in the northeast, for the first time since the end of the winter micron surge and as the country approaches 1 million pandemic deaths, return mandates and mask recommendations.
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (AP) – US COVID-19 cases are on the rise, forcing a number of school districts, especially in the northeast, to return mandates and recommendations on masks for the first time since the Omicron winter surge and .
The return of the mask in schools is not as common as before, during the pandemic, especially due to the fact that public concern about the virus has subsided. But districts in Maine, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have returned the masks, and some from Massachusetts are also recommending them, even as the school year enters its final weeks.
The largest school district in Maine, in Portland, said the masks would return this week, and superintendent Xavier Batana said it was “the safest course at the moment” amid rising cases. Bangor, Maine, schools have also returned the requirement for a universal mask.
High schools in the Pittsburgh suburbs and in Montclair, New Jersey, a suburb of New York, have also announced a return to camouflage, albeit temporarily this week. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of the country’s counties, which are considered “high” levels of COVID-19, are located in the northeast.
In some areas of Massachusetts where COVID-19 transmission is high, authorities also recommend wearing masks in schools.
Reactions ranged from support to anger. On the Woodland Hills High School in the suburbs of Pittsburgh on Facebook, one woman called the change “#crazy.”
Diana Martinez and Owen Cornwall, who have a freshman at Graham and Parks School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, are following recommendations to disguise their daughter.
“We are very happy about it. It gives us a little peace of mind, ”said 42-year-old Martinez, a professor at Tufts University. “I think parents tend to wear them, and it gives us some comfort. The same is true in our preschool. There will be a couple of parents who do not disguise their child, but we will disguise their child. “
Cornwall said there seems to be a general consensus in the school community in favor of playing safety.
“We are lucky in this area that they share our health problems,” said 37-year-old Cornwall, a visiting scientist from Tufts.
According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, daily cases in the United States average 79,000, which is 50% more than the last two weeks. This is a fraction of where the daily number of cases was earlier this year when it exceeded 800,000.
However, the current number of cases is significantly underestimated due to a severe decline in testing and the fact that tests are conducted at home and are not reported to health departments.
An influential group of models from the University of Washington in Seattle estimated that only 13% of cases are reported to the US health authorities, which would mean a shortage of more than half a million new infections every day.
Despite an increase in cases and a return to camouflage in a small number of schools, the response across the country has been largely modest, reflecting public exhaustion after more than two years of restrictions.
However, outside of schools, officials have shown little interest in returning masked mandates.
Last month, Philadelphia relinquished its mandate for indoor masks days after becoming the first major U.S. city to reintroduce a demand in response to increased COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
The United States is approaching a grim estimate of 1 million deaths from COVID-19. According to Johns Hopkins University, the pandemic has killed more than 6 million people worldwide.
Workers at St. Joseph Providence Hospital in Orange, California, who survived the worst pandemic, stopped Wednesday to recognize the victim.
Intensive care unit coordinator Patsy Brandenburger was among many caregivers who received a blessing from Father Patrick Aconqua, a hospital chaplain, during a Roman Catholic ceremony.
She recalled the worst days of the pandemic, when the hospital was filled with hundreds of patients, including dozens on mechanical ventilation; now only seven patients with COVID-19 are in the hospital.
“The number of patients we saw who died in intensive care was so, so, so heavy. And only families who could not be near them were extremely difficult for all of us, ”Brandenburger said, fighting back tears.
Catalini reported from Trenton, New Jersey. Associated Press writers Eugene Garcia of Orange, California, Patrick Whittle of Portland, Maine, and AP writers across the country.
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