It is yes to masks as Covid cases increase

What will the zero-covid policy say about Hong Kong after the change of the policy in July 2013? “It’s amazing,” said a tech executive

The zero- covid policy in China was changed on Wednesday into a 10-point national plan that scraps health code tracking and allows many positive cases to be isolated in their homes.

But as many residents expressed relief and happiness at the obvious loosening of measures, some worried about its impact and questioned how the new rules would be rolled out.

“The world changed within a matter of minutes, and that is really amazing,” said the manager at the tech company. We are getting back to normal life, that’s what I feel. I need to get back to a normal life because I might lose my mind.

The policy of isolating visitors from the community for up to 21 days and keeping the windows closed was one of the strictest policies in the world, and it was a title Hong Kong held for a long time.

What to Do If You’re Infected by Omicron, or How to Become Isolated? Q. What to do if you are infected

“How can it change so fast?” “What do you want to know?” Ding asked. I think we are like fools. It is up to them. I think they said it was good, so thats what I think at the moment. It is so unreal, but I have no choice. I can only follow the arrangement.

David Wang, 33, a freelancer in Shanghai, said although the changes were welcome, they had also sparked a feeling of disbelief in the city, which underwent a chaotic, more than two-month-long, citywide lockdown earlier this year.

He said most of his friends are showing signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder because of the new changes.

Top health officials in Beijing on Wednesday said the changes to the rules were based on scientific evidence, including the spread of the comparatively milder Omicron variant, the vaccination rate, and China’s level of experience in responding to the virus.

But the changes, which come on the heels of a wave of unprecendented protests across the country against harsh Covid restrictions, are a swift about-face for a government long bent on stamping out all infections. The central government did not appear to be in a ready state to shift its strategy until last week, after health authorities told officials against overreach.

The government and state media had long emphasized the dangers of the virus and its potential long-term effects – and used this to justify the maintenance of restrictive policies.

There was a lot of articles on Omicron in the past year, and they have made some people feel whiplash, and it falls well short of what other countries have done before their own public messaging campaigns changed.

That’s left many unprepared for what experts say could be an impending surge in cases in a country where the vast majority of people have not been exposed to the virus.

On China’s heavily moderated social media platform Weibo, topics and hashtags related to what to do if infected by Omicron trended high on Thursday morning, while there were numerous reports of panic buying of fever medications.

“People were not told what kind of medicine they should have and what they should do if infected until there was widespread infection. In fact, we should have started doing this a long, long time ago,” said Sam Wang, 26, a lawyer in Beijing, who added that the policy release felt “sudden and arbitrary.”

Others expressed concerns about living with the virus. Aurora Hao, 27, an English teacher in Beijing said: “I want to keep myself safe, because I could be fine after my first infection, but if I am reinfected a second or third time, I’m not sure what harm that will bring to my body.”

Meanwhile, his mother was now buying high-grade N95 masks and preparing for a “nuclear winter” until a potential initial wave of cases passed, Wang said.


Cities vs. States: The Importance of the Covid-19 Test for Health Workers, Public Masking, and the Immune Compromise

Already there has been some contradiction in how the guidelines are implemented as local authorities adjust – and many are watching to see the impact in their cities.

The Beijing government said on Wednesday that a negative Covid-19 test will still be needed for dining in at restaurants and some entertainment venues, in contradiction to national guidelines.

Her health code had turned yellow and she could not go into most public places until she took another test that didn’t show a positive result. She knew that she could go out freely, as long as she stayed at home and waited.

The World Health Organization still recommends health workers wear masks, with Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead of WHO’s Covid response, warning that the virus was “circulating pretty much unchecked around the world at the moment.”

Older persons, people who have any underlying illness, people who have immune compromise, there have been a lot of attention directed to patients who have higher risk of having more serious problems with all of these illnesses. Put your mask back on,’ ” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

Those warnings come just as the federal government moves in the opposite direction with vaccines. The defense bill was passed by the House on Thursday and repeals a vaccine requirement for military personnel.

In New York, state officials have encouraged schools and communities to take precautions such as indoor public masking as RSV, Covid-19 and the flu circulate, according to a letter from Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett and Education Commissioner Betty Rosa.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters Monday that about 5% of the population currently lives in a county with high spread. CDC’s county-level data suggests more than two-thirds of Americans live in an area with low transmission, but that cases are rising.

Vaccination and masking are not enough: Dr. Anthony Fauci discusses the need for masks during the November White House briefing on influenza, RSV and Covid-19

As a triple threat of respiratory illnesses – flu, RSV and Covid-19 – sweeps the nation this holiday season, health officials are urging people to take precautions to protect themselves: get vaccinated, wash hands frequently and even mask up in certain circumstances.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke about the need for masks during a White House briefing in late November.

He reiterated that sentiment in an exit interview with NBC News, where he suggested that people should mask where appropriate, but was careful to say it’s only a recommendation.

Fauci told NBC Nightly News that he was not talking about mandating anything. “I’m talking about just common sense of saying, ‘You know, I really don’t want to take the risk of myself getting infected and, even moreso, spreading it to someone who’s a vulnerable member of my family.’ “

Fauci said it shouldn’t be. “I know sometimes when you walk in and you have a mask and nobody has a mask, you kind of feel guilty. You shouldn’t feel guilty.”

More than two-thirds of Americans said they were wearing a mask not often or never outside the home. Just 14% said their employer required mask wearing.

In hindsight, mask requirements may have helped drive a growing skepticism of public officials. Nearly half, 45%, agreed in the Axios-Ipsos survey with the idea that public health officials lied to the public about the efficacy of masks and vaccines at preventing the virus’ spread.

The last time Ipsos asked about support for mask requirements was in July, when 45% supported local government requirements, down from more than two-thirds support in January 2022.

While people can choose to wear masks at any time, a high-quality mask or breathing Apparatus is recommended when a county has a high Covid-19 community level.

I don’t want to go to mandates because I think people in the United States will ignore them. Public health recommendations have to not be insubordinate.

The State of the State and County Covid-19: Implications for the Epidemic and Public Health Care Systems, and Implication for the Laws

The county has 258 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people and 14.8 hospitalizations per 100,000 people but continues to stay below the “high” level of staffed Covid patient beds, at 6.9%, she said.

We have reached a threshold where the CDC has said you really need to start worrying about your hospital system, and all of the data shows that, where there is too much transmission. The time to reduce the risk is now.

Every community has been thinking about the same things, wondering if they have to consider universal masking again.

“Now, I say all that based on the pure facts of the guidance, but I do think that has the possibility again of turning into a political divide in community by community where elected officials and others may or may not wish to see universal masking reimplemented. We will have to see if that legal divide reappears. Some of the original efforts to mitigate are not popular with the public.

Covid-19 Infections and Hospitalizations in the U.S. Over the Last Two Weeks: The CDC is Lifting

There has been an increase in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations over the past two weeks. The CDC believes there have already been 13 million illnesses and 7300 deaths from the flu this season, and that number is projected to increase in the coming months. (Over the past decade, annual flu deaths have ranged from 12,000 to 52,000 people, with the peak in January and February.) Infections are still high in many parts of the US, even though R.S.V. appears to be on the decline.

“We encourage schools to utilize their local departments of health as a partner and resource in this work,” the commissioners said. “Together, we will ensure that all students in our state have a healthy and safe holiday season.”

The CDC’s Covid-19 community level metrics for US counties are based on three things: new Covid-19 hospitalizations, hospital capacity and new Covid-19 cases. But the agency is looking into revisiting these community levels, possibly to include data on other respiratory viruses such as flu and RSV, Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday.

“It’s something that we are actively looking into at CDC. In the meantime, what I do want to say is, one need not to wait for CDC action in order to put a mask on,” she said.

Covid-19 hospitalizations are starting to tick up after Thanksgiving: More than 34,000 people were admitted to the hospital with Covid-19 in the past week, up 20% from the week prior, according to the CDC. Ensemble forecasts from the CDC predict continued increase over the next month or so.

About 1,800 Covid-19 deaths were reported to the CDC in the last week of November, and ensemble forecasts that predict Covid deaths will remain steady for the next month or so.

The city with the last big requirement of face coverings will no longer have a Covid mask requirement after three years.

The rule came into effect for public transport on July 15, 2020 and was expanded two weeks later to include indoor and outdoor areas – though the vast majority of people in the city had begun wearing masks months earlier as reports of coronavirus infections spread, leading to panic buying and shortages as early as January that year.

John Lee said at the news conference that the mandate will be lifted on Wednesday after 959 days.

The voluntary eradication of all international arrivals in Hong Kong has been celebrated by travel-starved residents and overseas family members.

Speaking at the same news briefing Tuesday, Health Secretary Lo Mau-chung said that with the lifting of the mask mandate, “We have now removed all epidemic restrictions.”

He is looking forward to seeing a smile on everyone’s face now. In high risk settings, the government still advises the wearing of masks.

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