COVID-19 Cases Rise While Few School Mask Mandates Return

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — U.S. COVID-19 cases are up, starring a smattering of schoolhouse districts, peculiarly successful the Northeast, to bring backmost disguise mandates and recommendations for the archetypal clip since the omicron wintertime surge ended and arsenic the state approaches 1 cardinal deaths successful the pandemic.

The instrumentality of masking successful schools is not astir arsenic wide arsenic earlier successful the pandemic, peculiarly arsenic the public’s worries implicit the microorganism person ebbed. But districts successful Maine, New Jersey and Pennsylvania person brought masks back, with a fewer successful Massachusetts besides recommending them adjacent arsenic the schoolhouse twelvemonth enters its last weeks.

Maine’s largest schoolhouse district, successful Portland, said this week masks would return, with Superintendent Xavier Botana saying that was the “safest people astatine this time” amid rising cases. Bangor, Maine, schools besides brought backmost a cosmopolitan disguise requirement.

High schools successful the suburbs of Pittsburgh and successful Montclair, New Jersey, a commuter suburb of New York City, besides announced a instrumentality to masking, albeit temporarily done this week. According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, astir of the counties successful the state considered to person “high” levels of COVID-19 are successful the Northeast.

In parts of Massachusetts that person seen precocious levels of COVID-19 transmission, authorities are besides recommending masks successful schools.

Reactions person ranged from supportive to angry. On the Facebook leafage of Woodland Hills High School successful suburban Pittsburgh, 1 pistillate called the alteration “#insane.”

Students wearing disguise  arsenic  a precaution against the dispersed  of the coronavirus enactment     up   to person   KN95 protective masks astatine  Camden High School successful  Camden, N.J., Feb. 9, 2022.
Students wearing disguise arsenic a precaution against the dispersed of the coronavirus enactment up to person KN95 protective masks astatine Camden High School successful Camden, N.J., Feb. 9, 2022.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Diana Martinez and Owen Cornwall, who person a first-grader astatine Graham and Parks School successful Cambridge, Massachusetts, person been pursuing the proposal to disguise their daughter.

“We’re precise blessed astir it. It gives america a small bid of mind,” said Martinez, 42, a prof astatine Tufts University. “I deliberation the parents mostly inclination toward wearing them and that gives america immoderate comfort. It’s the aforesaid lawsuit astatine our pre-school. There volition beryllium a mates of parents who don’t disguise their child, but we volition beryllium masking our child.”

Cornwall said determination seems to beryllium a wide statement successful the schoolhouse assemblage successful favour of playing it safe.

“We’re benignant of fortunate successful this neighborhood, that they stock our concerns with health,” said Cornwall, 37, a visiting student astatine Tufts.

Reported regular cases successful the U.S. are averaging 79,000, up 50% implicit the past 2 weeks, according to information compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That’s a fraction of wherever regular lawsuit counts stood earlier this year, erstwhile they topped 800,000.

However, existent lawsuit counts are a immense undercount due to the fact that of a large downturn successful investigating and the information tests are being taken astatine location and not reported to wellness departments.

An influential modeling radical astatine the University of Washington successful Seattle estimates that lone 13% of cases are being reported to wellness authorities successful the U.S. — which would mean an undercount of much than a fractional cardinal caller infections each day.

Despite the uptick successful cases and the instrumentality to masking successful a tiny fig of schools, the response crossed the country has been mostly subdued, reflecting the public’s exhaustion aft much than 2 years of restrictions.

Outside of schools, however, officials person shown small involvement successful returning to disguise mandates.

Last month, Philadelphia abandoned its indoor disguise mandate conscionable days aft becoming the archetypal ample American metropolis to reimpose the request successful effect to an summation successful COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

The United States is approaching the grim marker of 1 cardinal deaths from COVID-19. Globally, determination person been much than 6 cardinal deaths successful the pandemic, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

Hospital workers astatine Providence St. Joseph Hospital successful Orange, California, who labored done the worst of the pandemic paused Wednesday to admit the sacrifice.

Intensive attraction portion caregiver coordinator Patsy Brandenburger was among the galore infirmary caregivers who received a blessing from Father Patrick Okonkwo, a infirmary chaplain, during the Roman Catholic ceremony.

She recalled the worst days of the pandemic, erstwhile the infirmary was filled with hundreds of patients, including dozens connected ventilators; present the infirmary has conscionable 7 COVID-19 patients.

“The magnitude of patients we saw that passed distant successful the ICU was so, so, truthful hard. And conscionable the families that couldn’t beryllium determination with them was highly hard connected each of us,” Brandenburger said warring distant tears.

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Catalini reported from Trenton, New Jersey. Associated Press writers Eugene Garcia successful Orange, California, Patrick Whittle successful Portland, Maine, and AP writers crossed the state contributed.

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