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Mask mandates return at some US hospitals as COVID, flu jump

Healthcare facilities in New York, California, Illinois and Massachusetts have made masks mandatory among patients and providers.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan told WABC TV on Wednesday that mask mandates had resumed at all 11 of the city's public hospitals, 30 health centers and five long-term care facilities.

"What we don't want is staffing shortages, right? When we saw the omicron wave in 2022, the biggest issues were not only people getting sick, but that we had a lot of frontline health workers, they were out with COVID," Vasan told WABC.

The most recent weekly data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed there were over 29,000 hospitalizations from COVID across the U.S. from Dec. 17-23, up more than 16% from the previous week. The CDC also reported over 14,700 flu hospitalizations in that same period.

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