The CDC is reportedly planning to loosen its current mask guidance as early as next week.
CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, is expected to discuss the indoor mask guidelines for states at a White House COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday, sources told NBC News.
The agency is said to be considering a new benchmark that will be based on the level of severe infection and hospitalizations in states.
The White House has urged the CDC to update the guidance ahead of President Biden’s State of the Union on March 1, the sources said.
The move, which is yet to be finalized, comes after various states — including New York — dropped indoor mask mandates for businesses earlier this month as cases and hospitalizations fueled by the Omicron variant started declining.
New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Oregon and California were among the other states to announce the lifting of mask mandates last week.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said states making changes to mask guidance was “entirely understandable”.
“At the local level, there is a strong feeling of need to get back to normality,” Fauci told MSNBC on Tuesday.
He added that the CDC would continue to adapt its guidelines as COVID rates continued to trend downwards.