I was quite surprised when I brought up the idea of making masks optional in the office for ‘Well Child Visits.’ My staff was adamant that we continue wearing masks. They have been healthier and enjoy having full staff attendance due to everyone being well.
I checked with many sources and I think the ‘Pediatric News,’ had the best summary on: Medical Review supports continued mask-wearing in health care written by Jay Croft:
A new study urges people to continue wearing protective masks in medical settings, even though the U.S. public health emergency declaration around Covid-19 has expired.
Masks lower the risk of catching the virus, according to the study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine (2023 May 16. doi: 10.7326/M23-0570). And there was not much difference between wearing surgical masks and N95 respirators.
The researchers reviewed 3 randomized trials and 21 observational studies to compare the effectiveness of those and cloth masks.
‘Masking in interactions between patients and health care personnel should continue to receive serious consideration as a patient safety measure,’ Tara N. Palmore, MD, of George Washington University, Washington, and David K. Henderson, MD, of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., wrote in an accompanying opinion article (Ann Intern Med. 2023 May 16. doi: 10,7326/M23-1190).
‘In our enthusiasm to return to the appearance and feeling of normalcy, and as institutions decide which mitigation strategies to discontinue, we strongly advocate not discarding this important lesson learned for the sake of our patients’ safety,’ Dr. Palmore and Dr. Henderson wrote.
While masks are not 100% effective, they substantially lower the amount of virus put into the air via coughing and talking.
Dr. Palmore received grants from NIH, Rigel, Gilead, and AbbVie, and Dr. Henderson is a past president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.