Respiratory Viruses Return as Masks Come Off

NEW YORK -

As masks become optional and mingling among friends and strangers resumes in earnest, common respiratory viruses have surged.

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) has increasingly been observed in patients; RSV usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, but can become dangerous, especially in babies and toddlers, Pix 11 reported. The CDC issued a health alert that those with respiratory issues should be tested for the coronavirus and RSV.

“It’s a virus that can escalate beyond just the common cold to something that would include a faster kind of breathing,” warned pulmonologist Dr. Kurt Sobush. “It can increase fever, it can cause at least some difficulties with respiratory distress, where children can have an increased cough that doesn’t seem to quit.”

RSV germs are carried by coughing or sneezing, something that people who had been taking protective measures of socially distancing and mask wearing to prevent the coronavirus were more likely to avoid. RSV cases sank between April 2020 and March 2021, but have since risen.

Sobush predicts that parents will be more used to requiring sniffly children to wear masks in school with these viruses circulating.

“I think there’s going to be certain situations where children will still be coming to school with masks being worn and I think that’s here to stay a little bit, especially when they are having viral symptoms, whereas they would otherwise go to school with just a little bit of nose sniffles,” he said.

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smarcus@hamodia.com