The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday it is relaxing its mask guidance for communities where hospitals aren’t under high strain. Under the new guidance, nearly 70% of the U.S. population lives in areas considered to be low or medium risk and residents there are advised they can go indoors without masks.
The CDC recommends continued mask use in communities where serious cases of COVID-19 are straining the health system.
The move to ease masking guidance, federal officials say, reflects current conditions at this phase of the pandemic, including widespread immunity through vaccination and prior infection as well as better access to testing and treatments.
“We want to give people a break from things like mask-wearing,” said CDC director Rochelle Walensky at a press briefing Friday, adding that new risk guidelines that the agency is implementing will help people know when to reach for masks again if conditions warrant.
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