The C.D.C. will soon loosen indoor mask guidelines, officials say.
According to two federal officials familiar with, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to loosen its guidance on when and where Americans should wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, allowing most people to walk without them in public spaces the matter.
According to an administration official, the policy is expected to be announced Friday afternoon. Associated Press first reported the Thursday shift.
Under current guidelines, the agency recommends that anyone living in areas with significant or high transmission of the coronavirus, according to the number of cases, wear masks in public spaces such as gyms, cinemas, and houses of worship with a total capacity. This means that for people living in 95 percent of counties in the United States, masks should continue to be worn indoors. The country averages about 76,000 new cases a day, about 66 percent less than two weeks ago.
The upcoming recommendations are expected to depend on newly defined indicators to determine whether people in a particular geographic area are at high risk of contracting the virus. According to a federal official familiar with the plans but not authorized to speak about them, they will focus less on case numbers and place more weight on hospitalizations as a critical risk indicator.
The guidelines are likely to consider the capacity of local hospitals as an essential indicator of the level of risk. About 60,000 people are hospitalized with Covid across the country, but that number has dropped by about 44 percent in the last two weeks. As hospitalizations across the country decline, this could allow most Americans to drop their masks.
Most states have already loosened mask rules, and some, like New Jersey, have announced plans to lift the requirement even in schools. Others are poised to lift the mandatory use of masks indoors in the coming weeks. But the CDC’s official recommendation could affect more cautious areas.
Many enterprises have switched to requiring only confirmation of vaccinations. But masks are currently required on public transport, including on airplanes. The current mandate will run until March 18 and may be extended.
Last year, the CDC was heavily criticized for lifting mask restrictions too early, only for the delta virus to spread across the country. However, many public health experts are backing the relaxation of mask-wearing rules this time around.
Recent polls have shown that the public’s patience with Covid restrictions is waning. According to a recent study, nearly half of Americans surveyed believe the nation should “learn to live with” the pandemic “and get back to normal.” News Yahoo/YouGov survey. About 70 percent of Americans believe that “it’s time to recognize that Covid has not gone away, and we just need to continue to live.” recent poll Monmouth University.