Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxed its mask guidance, allowing more than 90% of Americans to stop wearing masks as long as COVID-19 hospitalizations in their communities remain low.
The updated data, which shows that nearly everyone in the U.S. lives in a low-to-moderate COVID-19 risk area, was released just days after the CDC issued new guidance that changed how it calculated the risk. The CDC now considers hospitalizations and hospital capacity as a key metric instead of case rates, NBC reported.
“We must consider hospital capacity as an additional important barometer. We want to give people a break from things like mask wearing when these metrics are better and then have the ability to reach for them again should things worsen,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said last month, CNBC reported.
The updated guidance from the CDC applies to everyone, including the unvaccinated and children. Those who remain at higher risk for the virus, according to NBC, may continue to wear masks and take extra precautions.
Check whether masks are recommended for your county at the CDC’s website.