, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, said on Feb. 16.
“As we consider future metrics, which will be updated soon, we recognize the importance of not just cases … but critically, medically severe disease that leads to hospitalizations,” Dr. Walensky said at a White House news briefing. “We must consider hospital capacity as an additional important barometer.”
She later added, “We are looking at an overview of much of our guidance, and masking in all settings will be a part of that.”
Coronavirus cases continue to drop nationwide. This week’s 7-day daily average of cases is 147,000, a decrease of 40%. Hospitalizations have dropped 28% to 9,500, and daily deaths are 2,200, a decrease of 9%.
“Omicron cases are declining, and we are all cautiously optimistic about the trajectory we’re on,” Dr. Walensky said. “Things are moving in the right direction, but we want to remain vigilant to do all we can so this trajectory continues.”
Dr. Walensky said public masking remains especially important if someone is symptomatic or not feeling well, or if there has been a COVID-19 exposure. Those who are within 10 days of being diagnosed with the virus should also remain masked in public.
“We all share the same goal: to get to a point where COVID-19 is no longer disrupting our daily lives. A time when it won’t be a constant crisis,” Dr. Walensky said. “Moving from this pandemic will be a process led by science and epidemiological trends, and one that relies on the powerful tools we already have.”
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