More U.S. states lift mask mandates as COVID-19 infections plummet from pandemic high
As the U.S. recovers from the unprecedented wave of infections caused by the Omicron variant, states across the country have begun rolling out plans to deal with the coronavirus as a persistent but manageable risk in the future.
More U.S. states are moving to lift their mask and vaccine mandates as the rate of new COVID-19 infections dips to its lowest level since November.
The United States is averaging about 78,000 new cases per day now, lowest since Nov. 11, according to latest data of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The average daily increase was down substantially from a pandemic high of more than 800,000 cases on Jan. 15.
The COVID-19 deaths also showed signs of easing, with average daily death count fell below 1,600, CDC data show.
Hospitalizations have also fallen sharply. There are about 66,000 patients in U.S. hospitals with COVID-19 as of Monday, according to a seven-day average of data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, down from the Jan. 20 peak of 159,000 patients.
New Omicron infections in the country have plummeted 90 percent from a pandemic high in a little over a month, according to a report of CNBC.
As the nation recovers from the unprecedented wave of infections caused by the Omicron variant, states across the country have begun rolling out plans to deal with the coronavirus as a persistent but manageable risk in the future.
California unveiled a first-in-the-nation plan last week to move past the crisis phase of the pandemic and deal with the virus as an ongoing manageable risk. Governor Gavin Newsom said California had to learn to live with the virus, using the tools developed over the past two years to prepare as much as possible for an uncertain future.
The state allowed its universal indoor-mask mandate to expire on Feb. 15. Masks will still be required indoors for people who are not vaccinated.
Like California, some states have ended universal indoor and outdoor masking mandates, while others have lifted statewide face covering requirements for schools.
But the CDC continues to urge mask use as a means to reduce transmission of the coronavirus.
"The push to let people remove their masks highlights the patchwork nature of health protocols, which have been applied inconsistently since the pandemic began in the United States in early 2020," said a New York Times report.