CBS News reports that COVID cases have continued to rise over the past couple of weeks as three new variants have begun to spread. EG.5, FL.1.5.1, and BA.2.86 are three of the newest variants responsible for an increase in hospitalizations and illnesses nationwide in July and August. According to the CDC, 10,320 patients in the US were hospitalized with COVID-19 during the first week of August. That was a 14.3 percent increase from the previous week.
As a result of this latest surge, children have been particularly hard hit. In accordance with data from the CDC, emergency room visits have increased significantly for children aged 11 and younger.
During the fall and winter, doctors are concerned about a nasty surge of the disease due to the return of students to the classroom. Pediatrician Dr. Shannon Godsil at Omaha Children’s Hospital and Medical Center told the Today Show, that we will more than likely continue to see new COVID variants and mutations.
“However, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has the potential to mutate, so there is a chance that there will be a strain of COVID that we haven’t seen before,” Godsil said.
This has led to many establishments re-implementing mask requirements that have proven to be effective in preventing the spread of the virus.
Morris Brown College, for example, has announced it will implement a COVID-19 mask mandate on campus for a period of two weeks following the rise of cases in the Atlanta area.
In addition to Clark Atlanta, Morehouse, and Spelman, other colleges are encouraging students, faculty, and staff to wear masks as they place temporary COVID precautions in preparation for the school year.
“After consultation with the AUCC Student Health and Wellness Committee and review by the AUCC Presidents, the campuses strongly recommend indoor masking on the Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College campuses to include students, faculty, staff, and visitors for the next 2 weeks while we assess the trends on the campuses…” the colleges said in a statement.
Businesses have also taken the initiative to require the use of masks on the job. Following several positive tests by employees this month, Lionsgate reinstated their mask mandate and daily COVID-19 self-screenings.
“Employees must wear a medical grade face covering (surgical mask, KN95 or N95) when indoors except when alone in an office with the door closed, actively eating, actively drinking at their desk or workstation, or if they are the only individual present in a large open workspace,” Lionsgate said in a statement to employees.
How to protect yourself
In order to help prevent COVID-19 and other winter illnesses from returning, here are some tips you can use to help stop the spread of these infections:
- When you are in crowded, indoor spaces, it is recommended that you wear a mask.
- If you are feeling sick, take a test as soon as you can and self-isolate. If you test positive, follow any guidance provided by your doctor.
- Keep your hands clean by washing them with warm soap and water on a regular basis.
- It is important to reduce stress in your day-to-day life as much as possible.
- Maintain a healthy and balanced diet and exercise regularly to ensure that you are in good health.
The latest requirements may bring a wave of deja vu to many, but they should be taken as a reminder to take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. (Source: BlackDoctor.org by Robyn Craig)