(Public health measures, such as masking and physical distancing, that have been a high-profile part of the COVID-19 response for the past two years are now beginning to lift. However, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the remarkable effects of these measures on other respiratory illnesses that are caused or exacerbated by viral infections.
These effects are a valuable research discovery from the pandemic. It’s a discovery that suggests that selective, non-mandated use of public health measures like masking, physical distancing and hand-washing may have a continued role as we enter the endemic phase of COVID-19. Collectively, these measures are known as non-pharmacologic public health interventions (NPIs). (…)