Posts blame masks, COVID-19 mitigations for respiratory disease “tripledemic”

Several popular social media accounts are promoting the idea that mask mandates and other COVID-19 protections are responsible for the “tripledemic,” the current wave of flu, COVID-19, and RSV infections that are overwhelming U.S. hospitals. One post claims that wearing masks weakened children’s immune systems by preventing exposure to germs, making them more susceptible to infections. This claim directly contradicts the anti-mask belief that masks are ineffective at preventing disease transmission. Another widely shared post says that COVID-19 restrictions have “dampened immune systems.”

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The Public Health Communications Collaborative (PHCC) was formed in 2020 to coordinate and amplify public health messaging on COVID-19 and increase Americans’ confidence in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health officials.

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