WTF Community

Day 386

1/ New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois will ease mask requirements as the Omicron wave recedes, joining New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Oregon in lifting mandates. New York and Illinois will drop its mask-or-vaccine mandate for indoor businesses, while Massachusetts will end its statewide school mandate. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said it was time to “let counties, cities and businesses to make their own decisions on what they want to do with respect to ‘mask or the vaccination’ requirement,” citing “a new phase in this pandemic.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki, meanwhile, said Americans living in states that have lifted their mask mandates should still follow CDC guidance because “because the data is changing. The science is changing.” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky added that despite encouraging trends in coronavirus case rates in several states, the country as a whole is “not there yet.” Instead, Walensky said, “We continue to recommend masking in areas of high and substantial transmission. That’s much of the country right now, in public indoor settings.” The seven-day average of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has decreased by about 44% from the previous week, while hospitalizations have dropped by about 25%, and deaths, which lag behind those indicators, have increased by about 3%. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)

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