This article is reprinted from the Speak Out Now healthcare newsletter at Kaiser and Highland Hospitals in Oakland, CA.
It might be hard to recall, but only a few years ago people were not wearing masks in high-risk settings. Even within hospitals, the majority of workers went mask-less for daily procedures, and would only don a mask for sensitive situations. However, three years into the COVID pandemic, masks have become the norm: in our schools, transport, and of course hospitals. While masks have proven to protect against COVID-19, they also have minimized the transmission of other illnesses. And while the COVID vaccine remains controversial, it has kept people from getting really sick or dying from the virus.
California has now announced that as of the 3rd of April, it will end mask mandates and COVID vaccine requirements for healthcare settings. But if you work in a hospital, you know that COVID is not a thing of the past, so what might be the consequences of leaving public health policies up to individual hospitals?