The United States drops the mask.

The American health authorities have largely relaxed, Friday, February 25, their recommendations on the wearing of the mask, which will thus no longer be recommended indoors for a majority of the inhabitants of the country.

These measures were widely expected, with health officials pointing for weeks to a new phase of the pandemic.

“We are now in a much better situation as a nation, with more tools to protect us from Covid-19,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Prevention and Control, told a press conference. Against Diseases (CDC), one of the nation's leading health agencies.

The CDC has so far only used the number of new cases recorded in each county to determine levels of Covid-19 by locality.

According to this previous measurement, 95% of the country recorded a high level of transmission of the virus, where the recommendation therefore applied to wear a mask indoors for all.

But the CDC has now decided to include hospital occupancy rates in its measure, as well as the number of new daily hospitalizations.

Consequently, more than 60% of counties, representing 70% of the American population, now register a level qualified as "low" or "medium", and can therefore drop the mask.

Only counties with a "high" level of Covid-19 are still subject to the indoor mask recommendation.

The exception of public transport

Important point: in schools, the CDC has so far recommended masks everywhere in the country, regardless of transmission levels.

From now on, the mask will only be recommended in schools in counties with a level of Covid-19 qualified as "high" according to this new measure.

However, these new recommendations do not apply to public transport, which is subject to their own directives, said Rochelle Walensky.

These are due to expire in March and will be reviewed at that time, she said.

CDC recommendations remain indicative, with actual restrictions being made locally in the United States.

In practice, many states have already announced that they will drop the mask indoors.

An average of 75,000 new cases of Covid-19 per day

This change comes as the United States emerges from its fifth epidemic wave, linked to the Omicron variant.

The country is currently registering around 75,000 new cases of Covid-19 per day, compared to a record high of 800,000 in mid-January.

In May 2021, the CDC had already announced that vaccinated Americans could remove their masks indoors.

But they had subsequently had to go back in the face of the arrival of the Delta variant.

With AFP

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