(Daily Caller News Foundation) — Several hospital systems in the United States are slowly bringing back mask mandates as fears over COVID-19 reemerge, according to public websites and reports reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
United Health Services in New York, Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center in California, Auburn Community Hospital in New York, UMass Memorial Health in Boston, Massachusetts, and University Hospital in Syracuse, New York, have all reinstated mask mandates in the past several weeks, with some requiring staff only to wear masks and others requiring everyone to wear masks, according to public websites and reports reviewed by the DCNF. Moreover, several doctors are calling for renewed masked mandates, despite evidence suggesting that mandates may not be as effective as their proponents claim.
COVID-19 hospitalizations are up 18.8% for the week of Aug. 13 to Aug. 19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has prompted at least three hospital systems to bring back mandates in New York.
“Masks are required at nurses’ stations and in conference rooms within clinical departments, including areas where patients register, wait, transport through, or receive testing and care,” United Health Services’ website reads. The hospital said the “uptick in COVID-19 cases” was the reason for masks now being required.
Auburn Community Hospital in New York now requires masks as well.
“Face coverings are mandatory inside our facilities, regardless of your immunization status. If you do not arrive with one or yours is deemed inappropriate, a mask will be provided to you,” their website reads.
A January 2023 Cochrane meta-analysis brought into question the effectiveness of mask-wearing in stopping the transmission of respiratory viruses, finding that it was “uncertain whether wearing masks or N95/P2 respirators helps to slow the spread of respiratory viruses.”
University Hospital in Syracuse is also now requiring masks. “Mandatory masking is required by all staff, visitors, and patients in clinical areas of Upstate University Hospital, Upstate Community Hospital, and ambulatory clinical spaces,” their website reads.
UMass Memorial Health in Boston and Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center also reinstated mask mandates. Kaiser Permanente Santa Rose Medical Center partially backtracked on Aug. 24, saying only staff needed to wear masks, according to The Press Democrat.
Renewed discussion about mask mandates has prompted several Republican politicians to speak out on the matter and denounce the possibility of reinstated mandates for the broader public.
“To every COVID tyrant who wants to take away our freedom, hear these words: we will not comply, so don’t even think about it. We will not shut down our schools; we will not accept your lockdowns; we will not abide by your mask mandates,” former President Donald Trump said on Twitter.
“It’s alarming that the mandates are kicking in again,” Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson said, according to the Washington Examiner. But Johnson was hesitant to declare masks ineffective, saying, “Masks might have some marginal impact.”
“There will be NO mask mandates in Texas,” Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted in response to an article discussing rising COVID-19 cases.
UMass Memorial Health cited a “dramatic increase in the number of COVID-19 positive employees” in its decision to reinstate a mask mandate, according to a statement reviewed by CBS News Boston.
“Please know that these changes are not made lightly, and we know how that a return to masking may be upsetting for some of our caregivers,” UMass Memorial Health said.
“The left-wing lunatics are trying very hard to bring back COVID lockdowns and mandates with all of their sudden fearmongering about the new variants that are coming,” Trump said.
United Health Services, Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center, Auburn Community Hospital, UMass Memorial Health and University Hospital did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.