A sign requiring masks as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus is posted on a store front in Philadelphia, on Feb. 16, 2022. The Biden administration will significantly loosen federal mask-wearing guidelines to protect against COVID-19 transmission on Friday, according to two people familiar with the matter. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)AP
The Centers for Disease Control is set to “significantly” ease mask-wearing guidelines put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to published reports. The change means most Americans will no longer be advised to wear masks in indoor public settings.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, the AP reported the CDC will move away from looking only at COVID case numbers towards a holistic approach that includes caseloads, hospitalizations and hospital capacity.
Under current guidelines, some 95% of U.S. counties are considered areas of substantial or high transmission, meaning masks are recommended. The new guidelines would remove those designations, meaning the vast majority of Americans will no longer live in areas where indoor masking in public is recommended.
COVID case numbers in America are plummeting after a spike due to the omicron variant, a highly transmissible strain that caused less severe illness and fewer hospitalizations.