The Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity is calling on hospitals and healthcare providers to reinstate universal mask mandates during the upcoming holiday season in order to safeguard against COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. The coalition, founded during the pandemic with the goal of protecting those most vulnerable to COVID-19, held a virtual press conference on Monday to urge health systems to reevaluate their masking policies. Several hospitals had lifted their mask mandates following the end of the public health emergency in May.
According to a report by the Boston Business Journal, the coalition’s advocacy comes as concerns about a potential surge in COVID-19 cases continue to mount amidst the ongoing pandemic. With many people expected to gather with friends and family for the holidays, there is a risk that this increased social activity could lead to a spike in cases. By reinstating mask mandates, healthcare providers can help mitigate this risk and keep patients safe.
The coalition emphasized that mask mandates are an effective tool in preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses, and that they should be reinstated as soon as possible. “We cannot afford to take any chances when it comes to public health,” said [Coalition spokesperson], adding that “reinstating mask mandates is not only necessary but also responsible.”
Healthcare providers have been faced with difficult decisions when it comes to masking policies since the end of the public health emergency. While some have opted to lift restrictions, others have kept them in place out of concern for patient safety. However, with new data suggesting that COVID-19 cases may be on the rise again, there is growing pressure on healthcare providers to take action and protect their patients from potential harm.