[Fox News] MSNBC medical contributor tells Americans to start wearing masks again after uptick in COVID hospitalizations

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A doctor appearing on MSNBC Tuesday said that Americans should start wearing masks for COVID again.

Former Obama official and current MSNBC medical contributor Dr. Kavita Patel was brought on Jose Diaz-Balart Reports to discuss an uptick in COVID hospitalizations.

“If you’ve noticed more of your friends, neighbors, loved ones are testing positive for COVID, you’re not alone. According to the CDC, COVID-19 hospitalizations are up 12 percent from last week and, while we’re nowhere near previous levels, it’s still raising concerns,” Diaz-Balart said.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations is rising this summer in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

More than 7,100 patients with COVID were hospitalized in the week of July 15, up from 6,444 the prior week, the sharpest percentage increase since December 2022.

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Diaz-Balart asked Patel, “So, I think we’ve, kind of, all been noticing that, right. There’s somebody you know or people think they have a cold and it ends up being COVID. What’s going on? What are you seeing?”

“Well, we’re seeing the same thing. We are, as you said, hospitalizations going up. Let me just start with some good news: We are not seeing anywhere near the dramatic rises that we saw in previous summers or previous years,” Patel said.

Patel added that a large part of the population has already “either been infected and vaccinated or both.”

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“So, what I think people need to know is that, I would just keep people on alert that when you’re in those crowded spaces, think about the cough and the colds, and sometimes many people don’t even have any symptoms,” Patel said.

Furthermore, Patel said that masks should be brought back after the uptick in COVID hospitalizations.

She said, “A mask can be your best friend. Keep it – Back in time, we had them in our office, in our coats, and our backpacks. Time to bring them out again. Especially as the fall season starts. We don’t want to see kids missing school for things that we could have prevented.”

COVID-related emergency room visits are also on the rise, comprising 0.73% of visits as of July 21, compared to 0.49% a month prior.

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“Early indicators of COVID-19 activity (emergency department visits, test positivity and wastewater levels) preceded an increase in hospitalizations seen this past week,” CDC spokesperson Kathleen Conley said in a statement.

Despite the uptick, she confirmed that COVID rates are still at “near-historic lows” in the U.S. 

Overall, COVID deaths continue to decline. 

The surge in summer cases doesn’t mean the CDC plans to recommend a return to masking, Dr. Brendan Jackson, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager in Atlanta, Georgia, told NPR this week.

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