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Covid-19: CDC says 98% of US population can ditch face masks – News

Earlier Thursday, the Biden administration said travelers are still required to wear masks on planes, trains and in transit centers

Reuters file

By Reuters

Published: Fri 11 March 2022, 09:15

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said late Thursday that about 98% of the US population lives in places where levels of Covid-19 are low enough that people don’t need to wear masks indoors.

On Feb. 25, the CDC significantly relaxed its Covid-19 guidelines on when Americans should wear masks indoors, saying they could drop them off in counties experiencing what it described as levels of Low or medium Covid-19.

Last month, the CDC initially said 70% of counties covering 72% of Americans could drop masks. The latest update says 98% of Americans who live in 94% of counties can ditch masks.

The revised numbers may give ammunition to critics who want the administration to lift mask requirements on planes, trains and in transit centers.

Earlier Thursday, the Biden administration said, on the recommendation of the CDC, it had agreed to extend the requirement for travelers to wear masks on planes, trains and in transit centers until 18 April.

The decision extends mask requirements that were due to expire on March 18 by a month.


The CDC said it will work with other government agencies “to help inform a revised policy framework outlining when and under what circumstances masks should be required in the transit corridor.”

Just last week, the agency said 85.4% of counties covering 93% of the population were considered to have low or medium levels of Covid-19 and could skip masks. The latest figures are a sign of another dramatic drop in coronavirus infections.

U.S. government agencies have dropped mask requirements in Washington-area federal buildings and other places with low to medium levels of Covid-19.