Americans have spent this year’s flu season social distancing and wearing masks, and the dramatic reduction in cases and deaths from influenza and other respiratory illnesses besides COVID-19 have led some to speculate about the benefits of wearing masks beyond the current pandemic.
A recent study in the Journal of Hospital Medicine found that across 44 children’s hospitals, the number of children hospitalized for respiratory illnesses is down 62% compared with previous years. Flu deaths, often numbering in the tens of thousands, are staying in the hundreds.
“In global regions where community COVID lurks and during upper respiratory infection season,” writes George Lundberg, MD, “I intend to ‘mask up.’ ”
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