Aug 30, 2023

COVID cases are rising, but should we start wearing masks again?

By Mallika Marshall, MD

August 24, 2023 / 5:38 PM / CBS Boston

BOSTON - With the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, many are wondering whether it's time to start masking up again.

It depends.

People at high risk of complication from COVID-19 should wear a high-quality mask (N95 or KN95) in crowded and public spaces. That includes seniors, especially those 80 years old and above, people with diabetes, cancer, heart disease, chronic kidney, liver, and lung disease, or any immunocompromised state.

You may have heard about a new variant called BA.2.86 which has been detected in a small number of people here in the U.S. It's not clear that this mutant will cause more severe illness but because it's highly mutated it could lead to more breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated.

Most of us haven't been vaccinated in months, maybe a year, and the new booster which should help protect us from these newer variants, won't be widely available for a couple of months, so in the meantime, we should all be vigilant and take precaution.

Mallika Marshall, MD is an Emmy-award-winning journalist and physician who has served as the HealthWatch Reporter for CBS Boston/WBZ-TV for over 20 years. A practicing physician Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, Dr. Marshall serves on staff at Harvard Medical School and practices at Massachusetts General Hospital at the MGH Chelsea Urgent Care and the MGH Revere Health Center, where she is currently working on the frontlines caring for patients with COVID-19. She is also a host and contributing editor for Harvard Health Publications (HHP), the publishing division of Harvard Medical School.

First published on August 24, 2023 / 5:38 PM

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