Fewer face masks could worsen NJ’s flu season, encourage spread of non-COVID viruses

With so few flu cases last season, predicting this year’s dominant strain will be tougher

Public health officials report that while COVID-19 is on the decline and face masks are no longer mandated in New Jersey in most situations, that could spark an eventual increase in other respiratory diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports cases of RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and parainfluenza are already on the rise, and the upcoming flu season could be far worse than last year, when COVID-19 lockdowns kept many people at home and mostly masked. With so little data from the prior flu season, this fall’s new flu vaccine will involve a lot more educated guesswork than usual.

WATCH: Experts fear COVID-19 hotspots will fuel flu ‘twindemic’

MORE: COVID-19: Why it could affect public health for years to come

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