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Relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions led to the reemergence of seasonal respiratory viruses in Houston

November 24, 2021


A Houston Methodist study showed a rapid return of seasonal respiratory viruses after COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed in Texas, demonstrating the effectiveness of masking, distancing and other precautionary measures at stopping the spread of many respiratory illnesses, not just COVID-19.

This rise in non-COVID respiratory viruses to pre-pandemic levels came on the heels of Texas ending its mask mandate in early March and lifting restrictions on businesses, which could resume operating at 100% capacity. Further contributing to the spike in cases were the updated COVID-19 guidelines from the CDC in mid-May that caught many by surprise, giving the fully vaccinated license to resume activities without masks or distancing, though two months later reinstated masks for everyone when the Delta surge took hold in July.

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