Only 1 state hasn't shared plans to loosen mask rules

Soon, no state in the mainland U.S. will have statewide mask mandates, with Hawaii the only state that hasn't announced plans to relax mask requirements, The New York Times reported Feb. 18.

Two of the last states with mandates — New Mexico and Washington — said Feb. 17 that they would be dropped soon.   

The CDC is considering a shift to its indoor mask guidance that would rely more on COVID-19 hospitalizations as an indicator of whether masks are needed. 

Current CDC guidance recommends that people wear masks indoors in communities with substantial or high transmission. About 98 percent of U.S. counties were in that category as of Feb. 16, according to transmission data. In a Feb. 16 briefing, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said that as the omicron surge wanes, the agency is considering other metrics to inform mask guidance. 

"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," Dr. Walensky said.


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