Doctor urges PBS listeners to mask up outdoors and at HOME during summer COVID uptick

An epidemiologist at the University of Texas is once again pushing everyone to mask up during a small uptick in COVID cases… even at home.

(Video Credit: PBS NewsHour)

Dr. Katelyn Jetelina issued the advice during an interview with “PBS NewsHour” anchor John Yang, stating that Americans should “be wearing masks in crowded areas, especially during a surge.”

The physician also urged that people should wear masks at home “if you want to reduce household transmission.”

“Certainly at home, [masks work] if you want to reduce household transmission,” she asserted during the interview. The epidemiologist also advised that if you test positive, “Please wear a mask if you leave isolation at five days.”

Jetelina was also quoted in an article by Apoorva Mandavilli in The New York Times that was headlined, “Amid Signs of a Covid Uptick, Researchers Brace for the ‘New Normal.’”

In addition to citing the epidemiologist’s alarm that “Covid is still a thing,” Mandavilli also quoted mask recommendations from Johns Hopkins epidemiologist Dr. Caitlin Rivers.

“No researchers foresee a return to the worst days of the pandemic. But some recommend that when the number of cases go up, people consider wearing masks again in crowded indoor spaces, testing when they have symptoms, and being mindful of those around them who may be at high risk should they become infected,” Rivers urged.

“Whether we’re completely out of the pandemic and settled into our seasonal routine, I am going to pencil in the yes,” Rivers remarked. “But I’m also prepared to be surprised because this virus has surprised me before.”

Mandavilli pushed the mask obsession some more by writing that some researchers “recommend that when the number of cases go up, people consider wearing masks again in crowded indoor spaces, testing when they have symptoms and being mindful of those around them who may be at high risk should they become infected.”

The advice from Jetelina and Rivers was viewed by many as overreactionary. Hospitalizations from COVID have reportedly risen 12 percent in the past week.

According to the Daily Mail that is believed to be “due to a new, more infectious variant dubbed ‘Eris,’ which is still considered mild.”

The new variant, also known as EG.5, is thought to account for one in five US infections taking place according to experts. The World Health Organization has classified Eris as a “variant of interest.” The CDC considers it as a variant “under monitoring” and not one of “interest” or “concern.”

The slight surge in cases is a fraction of what it was last year at this time with the effects of the virus reportedly being akin to the flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 8,000 patients were admitted to hospitals across the nation in the week of July 22. It’s the first rise since December of last year.

Medical experts are claiming that Eris is one of the quickest-growing variants across the world. They state that could be due to a “slightly beneficial mutation” which means it is spreading faster than other variants have.

The mutation has been found in China, South Korea, Japan, Canada, the United States, and other countries.

According to the Daily Mail, “In the first week of July, 7.5 percent of COVID cases were due to EG.5. Now, 17.3 percent of cases are.”

“Collectively, available evidence does not suggest that EG.5 has additional public health risks relative to the other currently circulating Omicron descendent lineages,” the WHO stated in a risk evaluation it released.

Despite the overblown hyperbole, COVID cases remain at an all-time low. The number of COVID deaths has also remained static and at its lowest levels since COVID came on the scene.

Jetelina’s mask recommendations are sure to be highly unpopular and for the most part, ignored by Americans. Especially when it comes to children. Recent evidence indicates that mask-wearing was instrumental in the hampering of growth and development in kids.

The CDC published a report in early 2023 that found from 2019 to 2021, the number of children ages three to 17 diagnosed with any developmental disability increased from 7.4 percent to 8.5 percent. That’s a 17 percent increase which is alarming.

In the report, boys were shown to be twice as likely to have a developmental disability than girls. That applies to one in 10 boys being diagnosed. Boys also had higher rates of intellectual disability than girls did according to the CDC, which noted 2.3 percent diagnosed compared to 1.4 percent.

A paper published in JAMA in January also looked at 225 children who were born in 2020. That examination revealed babies were less likely to be crawling and smiling at themselves in a mirror within six months due to pandemic mandates. The paper also showed they had reduced social and problem-solving skills.

“I understand the mindset for, man, thank goodness that’s done,” Dr. Jetelina said referring to the pandemic. “But we do the public a disservice by rolling over, saying, let’s move on, because the truth is, the virus doesn’t care. COVID is obviously still here. It’s going to be with us. It’s going to cause disruptions. And it’s going to cause a lot of people to lose their lives.”

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