A new survey of Mount Sinai south of Nassau finds that more than 60% support the mask

A new poll released Thursday by Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital shows that a clear majority of New York City and Long Island residents support mask mandates and believe the government should increase access to COVID-19 testing.

More than 60% of respondents believe masks should be mandatory in private businesses, theaters, schools, courts and places of worship, according to a “Truth in Medicine” survey at Oceanside Hospital.

The survey will be the subject of a live briefing on Thursday at 10:30 am about the hospital Facebook page. Hospital Chairman Dr. Adi Sharma, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Infectious Diseases Dr. Arun Galt will discuss the results of the survey and answer questions.

“The data clearly supports the existence of masking benefits,” Glatt said in an interview. However, he said, “The data also says that’s not the end goal, and that disguising itself is not going to get us out of this…epidemic. Thus, I think smart disguise is the right way to go.”

He said the need for masks depends on local transmission rates and whether others in the gathering have been vaccinated and get booster shots, among other factors. For example, he said, “I’m going to a small dinner with two or three friends, I know they’ve all been vaccinated, and I know they’re all healthy, and maybe in this case, I feel comfortable not wearing masks.”

Mask mandates stirred controversy. In Nassau County, newly elected county executive director Bruce Blackman signed an executive order this month allowing local school districts to decide whether to mandate masks for public school students. Governor Cathy Hochhol, a Democrat who signed an order last summer requiring masks in schools, responded that it was not an “easy task” and would stand up to Blackman, the Republican.

Glatt refused to talk about the controversy, saying, “I don’t comment on politics, I can only tell you medically, I think the mask has benefits.”

The new survey found that more than 80% of respondents feel the government should do more to make COVID-19 tests available. The random phone survey was conducted for 600 people during the first week of January, before the federal government began making free tests available by mail via a website, covidtests.gov. The poll’s margin of error was 3.9 percentage points.

The survey found that nearly two out of three respondents – 63% – believed the epidemic would continue for at least another year.

The survey also found that 80% of respondents “strongly” support giving new antiviral treatments to all patients with COVID-19, rather than giving higher priority to unvaccinated people.

While the pandemic continues, routine checkups are falling by the wayside for 43% of respondents, who said they have put off visits such as annual medical check-ups, dental or eye exams, mammograms or blood pressure checks.

He recommended Glatt to keep up with such visits, saying that delaying them could lead to “tragic” results.

“If someone, God forbid, does not get a cancer screening and then dies of preventable or treatable cancer that could have been detected earlier, that’s very sad,” he said.

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