Phoenix — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to relax indoor masking guidelines for states within the next few weeks. The agency's update could be released as soon as next week.
The CDC is exploring a new standard for determining whether masks are necessary based on the severity of illness and hospitalizations in a given neighborhood.
There has been a decrease in the number of cases of the omicron variant in all states except Maine in recent weeks. According to an NBC News analysis, the number of hospitalizations across the country has also decreased.
As cases continue on the decline, several states have lifted their mask mandates for private firms. As of Wednesday, California will no longer enforce the use of an interior mask for those who have received a vaccination. Illinois will also not enforce the indoor mask mandate as of Feb. 28.
States changing their mask rules is "completely understandable," according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House's chief medical adviser.
"At the local level, there is a strong desire to return to normalcy,” said Fauci, adding that the CDC will continue to modify recommendations as the number of cases decreases.
A number of big corporations like Tyson Foods are also easing their mask regulations for employees who have been immunized.