According to people familiar with the matter, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon loosen its indoor concealing guidelines for states. According to several people familiar with the matter, the agency could release an update as soon as next week.
Dr. Rochelle Waensky, director of the CDC is scheduled to speak Wednesday at a briefing by the White House Covid-19 Response Team on masking guidance.
Although nothing has been completed yet, the CDC considers a new standard for mask use. It is based on severity of disease and hospitalizations within a community, according to two people familiar.
According to two sources familiar with the plans, the White House is eager for the CDC's update on its indoor-mask recommendation. However, it does not want the agency to look like it is putting pressure on it.
The White House refused to comment on the matter, and the CDC did not immediately respond to a request.
Recent weeks have seen a drop in the number of cases of the omicron coronavirus variant. According to a NBC News tally, hospitalizations are also declining across the country.
New York, along with a few other states headed by Democratic governors, have removed their mask requirements for private business over the past few weeks as the omicron fuelled surge has subsided. Beginning Wednesday, California will no longer require indoor masks for people who have been vaccinated. Many large companies, such as Tyson Foods are also moving to relax mask requirements for vaccinated employees.
On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical advisor, stated on MSNBC that the CDC would continue to modify its recommendations as cases fall.
Fauci stated that states changing their mask rules are "entirely normal" and understandable. "At the local level there is a strong need to return to normality."
Senior officials in the administration have asked Walensky for an update on masks prior to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address March 1. One person said.
The agency recommends universal indoor masking for areas of high or substantial transmission. This is determined by the number and percentage of positive tests. According to CDC data, the vast majority of U.S. counties fall within these criteria.
Walensky previously stated that mask policies should be implemented at the local level based on factors like hospitalization and vaccination rates. Public health experts agree that universal masking along with vaccinations is the best way to reduce Covid infection rates. However, states and communities in some areas are changing their strategies as more vaccines become available and treatments are made available. This is because the country has started moving towards a "new normal".