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Quebec’s College of Physicians is urging people to wear masks in public spaces, citing a “worrying rise” in respiratory virus cases among children — and overflowing pediatric emergency rooms.

While the Quebec government has been working to address the long waits in ERs, it has not moved to bring back mask mandates. It said that wearing masks is recommended in the presence of vulnerable people and in places when it is difficult to maintain a distance from others.

“When the government makes a recommendation and I would say a soft recommendation … that tells the public that it’s not important,” she said. “I think we need more than just a recommendation.”

She says it’s up to the government to help people make informed decisions and explain why the measure is necessary.

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