BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Philadelphia on Monday rstated his indoor mask mandate after COVID-19 cases, it increased by 50% within two weeks.
As cases rise again in Maryland, it has become increasingly difficult for experts to accurately track the number of new positives with so many people using test kits at home.
As to whether mesh mandates here could make their return, an expert at WJZ says the decision would have more to do with hospitalization rates than new infections.
Dr. Chris Thompson, an associate professor of biology at Loyola University Maryland, said it is difficult to interpret the data with fewer people being tested and those testing at home.
“I think we’re seeing a lot of underreporting,” said Dr. Thompson to WJZ.
After its positivity rate bottomed out at just under 1.5% at the end of March, Maryland’s positivity rate stood at 3.27% on Monday, more than double what it was.
But hospitalizations, as public health experts say, are the most important measure, continue to hover around the 140 mark. The state has registered just over 14,000 deaths.
But with fewer people taking precautions, such as wearing masks in indoor public spaces, the professor said he fears the state may be on the verge of yet another rise.
Dr. Thompson said that although the new variants generally do not result in such a serious disease, there is still much we do not know about the long-term effects of COVID-19.
“There’s a lot of new data coming out about long-term COVID, and it’s pretty scary,” Thompson said. “There is encephalitis in a good portion of the population.”
Based on this uncertainty and other long-term effects, such as lung problems and heart problems, he said ignoring basic safety and health protocols is just not worth the risk.
“I really want to encourage people to return to what we know works: to wear a mask, wash hands, take social distance when you can,” he said.
With the weather getting warmer, the professor said people should look for opportunities to open windows and increase ventilation in public environments whenever possible.
“And of course, if you have not been vaccinated, get vaccinated,” he said. “Get boosted so you’re not one of those people in the hospital.”