Just last week we reported that the national influenza profile in the United States was worse than it’s been in a decade—and the situation has only deteriorated since then, with even more states reporting either “high” or “very high” flu activity. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says incidence of COVID-19 jumped 50% in a single week, from 300,000 cases confirmed at the end of November to 460,000 in the first week of December. The one glimmer of good news is that cases of respiratory syncytial virus are declining, though the CDC says they remain higher than in recent years. An article just published in The New York Times even invoked the word “tripledemic” in describing the overall picture in the U.S.—and quoted multiple public health officials and experts as suggesting that donning masks would be advisable in certain situations. Those include individuals living or in close contact with high-risk people, and the general public in counties in which incidence is shown to be high. Keep a close eye on incidence of all three circulating viruses in your area and consider reinstituting mask policies if the data are trending badly.
Update: With COVID and Flu Catching Up to RSV, Is It Time to Bring the Masks Out Again?