Now that the state is no longer mandating mask wearing in most places… will we see a return to the common illnesses that used to be issues throughout the year?
Doctors tell NBC Connecticut that it is a reality that fewer of us have gotten sick with common seasonal ailments since we started taking precautions to avoid COVID-19.
But as we begin to drop some of those precautions, experts say don’t be surprised as all those common colds begin to come back.
Hartford Healthcare infectious disease director Dr. Ulysses Wu said that he’s seen far fewer instances of flu and other non-Covid illnesses since the pandemic began, but expects those numbers will rise as diligence about social distance and more wears off.
“The influenza that we saw this year paled in comparison to previous years. The rhinoviruses… the adenoviruses… they all didn’t happen in the time of Covid. It wasn’t just because Covid was stronger than all the other viruses. it was because we were wearing masks and being socially distanced," Wu said.
The doctor said once the pandemic is over, he doesn’t anticipate mask-wearing will become the norm in the US as it is in some other countries. But maintaining masks and other COVID precautions would have tremendous benefits.
“Hand hygiene, washing your hands is very important. If you are sick, do yourselves a favor and try not to go near other people who may also be sick as well,” Wu said.
He recommends even those who are vaccinated consider continuing mask wearing, along with maintaining the health and safety practices followed to help avoid COVID-19.
“Even though I am vaccinated, I am still wearing the mask. And I would encourage others to do it. But if people don’t want to do it, buyer beware,” he said.