WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is once again urging the public to wear face masks indoors.
Respiratory viruses are continuing to spread, putting pressure on the healthcare system.
Doctors say masking can only help, but it’s up to local governments to make those decisions. So far, there aren’t any new policies in the DMV.
“I’d be fine with it. I’m usually fine with whatever the CDC and science recommends,” said Peter Favret.
Some people we talked to in D.C. are OK with another temporary mask mandate as respiratory viruses crowd emergency rooms in the DMV.
“If it makes people feel safer or if it’s actually doing something then I’ll do it. Let’s re-up the masking situation,” said Nyah Finnie.
“I’m actually seeing a lot of COVID with flu or RSV with flu so it’s not just one virus at this point. Some people are even getting three different viruses at the same time,” said Dr. Pouya Gharahdaghi, assistant director of the Sibley Memorial Hospital emergency room.
The ‘tripledemic’ of flu, COVID and RSV is a growing concern.
“Wintertime historically we always had higher number of patients coming to the emergency department with viral infections. This is when people get respiratory infections,” Gharahdaghi said.
According to the most recent data from the CDC, levels of COVID remain mostly low in the DMV. But when you take a look at the map of flu cases the spread is very high, with D.C. and Virginia being the worst in our area.
Some doctors are seeing the opposite trend, however.
“In the last maybe couple of weeks, we’ve kind of seen that plateauing in the incidence of influenza, but I think now we’ve started seeing an increasing rate in the incidence of COVID cases,” said Dr. Marc Siegel, Division Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at The George Washington (GW) University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Is now a time to bring back masking indoors?
“It would behoove you if you want to have an enjoyable and healthy holiday period to consider wearing a mask if you’re going into the mall, if you’re going to crowded indoor venues,” Siegel said.
Doctors say it’s an easy way to keep others safe and out of the hospital.
“indoors if you’re not eating keep the mask on. It’s not too complicated. It’s not too difficult,” Gharahdaghi said. “We did it for two years. We can do it for a few more months.