The New York Times on March 8 reported that when the US entered the “mask-free” phase, some people welcomed the new regulation, but others expressed concern that this move was too early in the context of more than 1/ 3 Americans have not been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 as of March 7.
Experts reassured that Covid-19 was now “similar to the common flu”. However, the US’s removal of the requirement to wear masks for students is controversial. According to research by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), masks help reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection in public schools in the US K-12 system.
People do not wear masks in Washington DC on March 4. Photo: Xinhua News Agency
“Overall, schools that required mask wearing had a 23% lower incidence of Covid-19 than those that dropped the rule. This is a valuable finding that includes past data as the wave wave changed. Delta outbreak,” CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund told CNN. The mask-wearing policy has a greater effect on older students, combined with high rates of Covid-19 vaccination.
Over the past few weeks, most US states have dropped the requirement to wear masks in indoor spaces, except Hawaii, after the number of cases of the Omicron variant dropped. However, since the beginning of March, the US has still recorded 5 deaths from Covid-19 / 1 million people every day. The total number of Covid-19 deaths in the US as of March 10 is 989,473 cases and the total number of cases is 81,064,103 cases. Therefore, experts say that the US is “a long way from a new normal”.
Students arrive at school in New York state on March 7. Photo: Xinhua News Agency
Some Americans expressed concern that the move to remove masks was premature. Photo: Xinhua News Agency
The US death rate from Covid-19 is about 10 times higher than a previous serious respiratory illness. With the death toll at a high, US hospitals will be filled, labor shortages will appear and more than 50,000 Americans will lose their lives each year, Business Insider estimated on March 9.
Experts say that to move to the new normal, the US needs to control the number of Covid-19 deaths at 0.5 deaths / 1 million people per day.