A group of doctors are pushing for stronger mask advisories and mandates as COVID cases continue to rise in Massachusetts.
COVID-19 cases have been rising steadily in Massachusetts in recent weeks, with most of the state now in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's high risk category. Experts say COVID cases are likely three times higher than the numbers being reported by the state, since most people are taking at-home tests.
The Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity held a virtual event Wednesday, where several doctors and other community experts discussed the latest surge and the need to implement more stringent coronavirus policies, including mask mandates.
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Should Massachusetts implement a mask mandate for schools, public transit?
"We want to urge the Department of Public Health to immediately issue an advisory, basically saying that, that the public should be wearing masks indoors and avoiding large gatherings," Dr. Lara Jirmanus of Harvard Medical School said.
The group of physicians and public health experts are pushing for schools and the MBTA to reinstate a mask mandate until the latest surge passes. They also want to increase access to testing, treatment and vaccines.
Boston COVID wastewater data rising, hospitalizations remain low
Wastewater data shows COVID is on the rise in the Boston area, but it’s still nowhere near where it was during the omicron surge earlier this year. Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday that the number people who are in the hospital because they have COVID is still low.
"Our hospitalization numbers that are for COVID are still very low and the reason they are low is because 80% of the adult population is fully vaccinated and about half of those folks are boosted," Baker said.
When asked about the possibility of going back to mask mandates, Baker told reporters that if people want to wear them, they should, but the focus should be on vaccines and treatments.