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CDC wants to give people a break from wearing masks as pandemic improves, director says


Dr. Rochelle Waensky, Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing. She was there to discuss the federal response to coronavirus (COVID-19), and the new variants that have emerged on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., U.S. Jan 11, 2022.

Shawn Thew| Reuters

According to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now reviewing their mask guidance. It will be focusing on Covid hospitalizations, which are a crucial measure of severity and future guide for determining if health safety protocols should be strengthened.

Walensky stated Wednesday that hospital capacity is an important indicator. She stated that people should be able to get away from mask-wearing when the metrics improve and can then return to them if they are not.

If you live in an area of high viral transmission, the CDC recommends wearing masks indoors. According to CDC data, nearly every US county has high levels of transmission. Federal law mandates that all passengers wear masks while traveling on buses, trains, and planes.

States have been easing their public health precautions as the number of omicron-related infections has fallen from its peak in January. New York, California and New Jersey have eliminated mask regulations for companies. New Jersey also removed its requirement that schools wear masks.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, CNBC reported Tuesday that the U.S. had an average of 136,000 Covid cases per week over the past week. This is 83% lower than the Jan. 15 record of 800,000, which was set at the time. The data shows that new infections have declined in all 50 states and D.C.

A seven-day average of data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday shows that approximately 85,000 Covid patients were in U.S. hospital with Covid. It’s down also from the peak of 160,000 patients on Jan. 20, which was nearly 160,000.

Omicron is more common than other variants but doesn’t cause as many people to get sick as alpha or delta strains. Hospitalizations rose at the same pace as the number of infections, but deaths and hospitalizations did not rise. Hospitals have been under tremendous pressure since the outbreak of the Omicron virus. The variant could cause serious disease among the unvaccinated and elderly, as well as people with impaired immune systems.

The Financial Times’ chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House, said last week that the United States is now out of the “fullblown pandemic phase” of Covid-19. Biden’s administration tried to assure the public that they have the resources to control the virus so it doesn’t disrupt daily life.

This story is still in development. Keep checking back for more updates.