The CDC will greatly ease recommendations for masks from the pandemic on Friday

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration will significantly weaken federal guidelines for wearing a mask to protect against COVID-19 transmission on Friday, according to two people familiar with the issue, which means most Americans will no longer be advised to wear masks in public.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday will announce a change in the indicators they use to determine whether to recommend facials, moving from considering the number of COVID-19 cases to a more holistic view of coronavirus risk to society. According to current guidelines, masks are recommended for people living in high- or high-transmission areas – in about 95% of U.S. counties, according to the latest figures.

The new figures will continue to take into account the number of cases, but also take into account hospitalizations and capacity of local hospitals, which have been markedly improved during the advent of the omicron option. This strain is highly transmitted, but suggests that it is less severe than previous strains, especially for people who have been fully vaccinated and bushed. Under the new guidelines, the vast majority of Americans will no longer live in areas where camouflage in public places is recommended, based on current data.

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The new policy is when the Biden administration moves on to prevent serious illness and death from COVID-19, rather than all cases of infection, as part of adjusting the strategy for a new “phase” of response as the virus spreads. endemic.

Two people familiar with the changes spoke on condition of anonymity to review the CDC’s actions before the announcement.

The change was because almost all U.S. states that have introduced mandates to wear masks indoors for the winter micron burst are releasing them as cases have dropped dramatically across the country. Some have completely abolished mandates, while others have retained mask requirements for schools and medical facilities.

It was not immediately clear how the new CDC recommendations would affect U.S. federal mandates requiring face masks on public transportation.

CDC Director Dr. Rachel Valensky said changes are being made.

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“We need to consider hospital capacity as an additional important barometer. Our hospitals should be able to help people with heart attacks and strokes. Our emergency departments cannot be so overcrowded that patients with emergencies have to stand in line, ”she said at a briefing at the White House last week.

However, she declined to name a specific day when the CDC will announce the change. CDC officials on Thursday declined to confirm a release date.

“At @CDCgov, we analyzed our # COVID19 data and shifted our focus to preventing the most severe outcomes and minimizing the burden on health care,” Valensky tweeted Thursday night, without giving details of Friday’s announcement.

AP writer Mike Stobb contributed.

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