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"Tripledemic" of flu, COVID and RSV lead to new face mask recommendations in New York City

Doctors recommend New Yorkers wear masks amid "tripledemic"
Doctors recommend New Yorkers wear masks amid "tripledemic" 02:25

NEW YORK -- In response to a so-called "tripledemic" of flu, COVID and RSV, there are new recommendations to wear masks indoors and outside in crowded areas in New York City. 

It comes as COVID and other respiratory illnesses are seeing unusually high spikes. The new guidance is critical for New Yorkers age 65 and older and those who are immunocompromised. 

Friday, the city's health department recommended all New Yorkers wear high-quality face coverings indoors an in crowded areas. 

Most people told CBS2 wearing a mask is no problem. 

"It's also jest protection to me, even though I have been vaccinated. But it's also just for my friends and family," said Ashton Dhuman, of the Bronx. 

The guidance came one day after the state recommended masks at schools.

In a letter, the top education and health leaders said, "A host of respiratory viruses, including influenza, RSV and COVID-19, have taken hold in our state and in most of our communities. These viruses, while often manageable, can cause serious outcomes, especially for children." 

"I think it can't hurt. I'd rather my kid not get sick and protect her friends," said Joanne Shea, a parent. 

"They can recommend whatever they want. And I think the parents have the last say in terms of what their kids do regarding their health," said Yiatin Chu, a parent. 

The three viruses have been straining the state's health care system. Recently, Cohen Children's Medical Center on Long Island had to take away 75 beds from adults to give to children with RSV

Some doctors said they have seen some patients with more than one virus at the same time. 

"Because if you have one, you already have a very weak immune system," said Dr. Muneeb Khan. 

In addition to wearing masks this holiday season, health officials said it's important to stay on top of vaccinations and get tested if you feel sick.

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