Hospitals in several US states have reintroduced mask mandates for patients and healthcare providers due to a surge in Covid cases, seasonal flu, and other respiratory illnesses. 

These states include New York, California, Illinois, and Massachusetts. 

According to New York city health commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan statement on WABC TV, mandates have been reinstated in all 11 public hospitals, 30 health centres, and five long-term care facilities in the city. 

The move aims to prevent staffing shortages by reducing the spread of infections among healthcare workers.  

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed a significant increase in Covid hospitalisations, exceeding 29,000 cases in the week from 17 to 23 December, up 16% from the previous week. 

Besides, CDC reported over 14,700 flu-related hospitalisations during the same period. 

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The reintroduction of mask mandates comes amid political and cultural controversies surrounding their effectiveness during the Covid pandemic.  

Despite the CDC’s recommendations, the Supreme Court struck down President Biden’s federal vaccine-or-test mandate for companies, and a judge appointed by his Republican predecessor invalidated the public transportation mask mandate. 

The decision comes amid concerns about the impact on healthcare systems and the ongoing toll of over 1.1 million Covid-related deaths in the US. 

Various hospitals and health systems across the country have implemented or reinstated mandatory masking in response to the increased challenges posed by the recent surge in cases.  

Among them are Rush University in Chicago, Cook County Health, Endeavor Health in the Chicago suburbs, and Berkshire Health Systems in Massachusetts. 

Los Angeles County in California also reinstated masking at all licensed healthcare facilities to address the escalating situation.  

The county’s health department has not yet provided a response to inquiries on the matter.