The CDC is going to modify the rules for the use of masks against Covid

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A sign demands face coverings at Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

It is expected that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) loosens its guidelines on when and where Americans should wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.s, which will allow most people to be without them in indoor public spaces, according to two federal officials familiar with the matter.

The Associated Press, which first reported the change, said that the new policy was expected to be announced on Friday. The two officials who spoke to The New York Times would not confirm when those rules will change.

Under current guidelines, the CDC recommends that anyone who lives in areas with substantial or high transmission of Covid, as defined by case count, You must wear face coverings in indoor public spaces such as gyms, movie theaters, and places of worship.

That means people living in 95% of US counties must continue to wear masks indoors even as the country is seeing an average of about 76,000 new cases a day, a decline of about 66% from two years ago. weeks.

What will the possible change in mask rules be like?

Future recommendations are expected to rely on newly defined metrics to determine whether people in a particular geographic area are at high risk of contracting the coronavirus.

They will put less emphasis on counting cases and will give more weight to hospitalizations as a key measure of risk, according to a federal official who is familiar with the plans but was not authorized to discuss them.

It is likely that The new guidelines take into account the capacity of hospitals in a local area as an important indicator of the level of risk.

With hospitalizations declining across the countrythat may allow the vast majority of Americans to remove their masks. Around 60,000 people are hospitalized with Covid across the country, but those numbers have dropped by 44% in the last two weeks.

Most states have already relaxed the rules for wearing masks. Others are poised to end indoor mask mandates in the coming weeks. But an official recommendation from the CDC may have some influence in districts that have been more cautious.

Many companies have moved to requiring only proof of vaccination and not the use of masks in public indoor spaces.

But currently masks are required on all public transportor, including airplanes. Those rules are expected to expire on March 18, but a flight attendants union is urging the Biden administration to extend the requirement until more people are vaccinated.

Last year, the CDC came under fire for lifting mask restrictions too soon, only for cases caused by the Delta variant of the coronavirus to surge across the country. This time, however, many public health experts support relaxing mask guidelines.

It may interest you:

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– Los Angeles County suspends the use of masks indoors for its vaccinated residents

– COVID: Ómicron subvariant BA.2 could cause more severe illness

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