MIAMI (CBSMiami) – COVID cases continue to the fall in the United States, but controversy surrounding masks is not letting up.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, COVID was the second leading cause of death in January in the country, overtaking cancer.
Still, cases are falling. The seven-day average is now just over 175,000 – down more than 78% since the Omicron peak in January.
“I think at some point the American public is just losing it in terms of saying you know we just don’t have the fortitude,” said Dr. John Swartzberg.
Swartzberg studies infectious diseases at UC Berkeley. With more than 16,000 deaths nationwide this past week, he believes masks are still necessary, but that some politicians are removing the requirement to appease frustrated constituents.
“I think the politicians are sensing that and they’re making a decision based upon that,” he said.
In the last week, 11 states have announced they are rolling back mask mandates.
A CBS News poll shows that 56% of Americans still support those mandates.
In California, the mask requirement for indoor public places gets set to expire Tuesday. Health officials announced masking inside schools will continue at least until the end of the month.
“We are taking a little bit more time to consider the information work with our partners across the state to make sure when the move is made that we are doing it successfully and with communities empowered to continue to be safe,” said California Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.
On Monday, Miami-Dade and Broward County Public Schools lifted their mask mandates. The districts cited the downward trend in daily infections and positivity rates.
But many states are waiting until the youngest Americans can get vaccines before dropping masks in school.
On Friday, Pfizer said it needs more time to gather trial data before seeking FDA emergency use authorization for children under 5.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports the number of new COVID cases among children is down nearly 53% from a week ago.