Doctors Warn People To Mask Up Again As Flu And Covid Cases Surge

ATLANTA, G.A. — Health officials are now encouraging people to mask up again ahead of the holidays as respiratory illnesses surge nationwide.

Experts say a resurgence of COVID-19 infections have caused an uptick in hospitalizations across the U.S. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky says COVID-19 hospitalizations jumped 15 to 20-percent in just a week. That’s raising fears that deaths could also start rising.

It comes as flu hospitalizations are also at the highest levels seen in a decade. The agency estimated 8.7 million Americans have been sick with the flu this season.

The CDC is sounding the alarm that a COVID-19 rebound combined with annual viruses like the Flu and RSV could stretch hospitals and health care workers thin.

Walensky says wearing masks is one of several precautions that people can take to cut down on their risk of getting sick during the busy holiday season.

About 5-percent of people in the U.S. live in counties where the CDC recommends masking due to high community levels of COVID-19.

Walensky also encouraged people to get their flu shots and COVID-19 boosters, if they haven’t already. Fewer people appear to be getting their flu shots this year, according to new CDC data.

According to the CDC, through the end of October, Flu vaccinations are down about 12-percent for pregnant women from the same point in 2021. Rates for seniors are down about 3-percent in that time period. Flu vaccinations for kids are down about 5-percent compared to where they were before the pandemic.