MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Cities and states across the country are scaling back COVID restrictions and mask mandates as cases continue to drop nationwide.
On Wednesday, members of the White House COVID Response Team said they are reviewing all guidance in the coming weeks.
Cases are down almost 40%, but COVID deaths have dropped only around 9% from the previous week.
“We are looking at an overview of all of our guidance,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
Walensky says hospitalization levels will be a key factor as her agency works to update pandemic guidelines in the coming weeks.
Last week, new admissions were down almost 30%.
“We want to give people a break from things like mask wearing when these metrics are better, and then have the ability to reach for them again should things worsen,” Walensky said.
States and local governments have already begun peeling back COVID restrictions.
On Wednesday, most indoor masking requirements for vaccinated individuals lifted in much of California.
“We’re gonna take off our masks and we’re so excited,” said Lisa Lucero.
Philadelphia is dropping its vaccine mandate for indoor dining altogether.
Meanwhile, two major music festivals, Coachella and Stagecoach, will have no COVID restrictions this year.
“Certainly, mask mandates, restrictions on gatherings, I think they can start getting lifted,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, a dean at Brown University School of Public Health.
The Biden Administration is gauging support from lawmakers for as much as $30-billion in new federal funding for the ongoing pandemic response – to pay for vaccine development, treatments and testing.
The president’s COVID team says it has already shipped 200 million at-home test kits directly to Americans.
“Once a package ships, over 60% are delivered within 24 hours and 90% within 48 hours. This is an effort that has no precedent,” said White House Covid Response Team Coordinator Jeff Zients.
The Biden administration has also formally asked testing companies for input on how best to sustain, and possibly scale up, test manufacturing this year.
And, according to the Biden administration, over 200 million high-quality masks have been shipped by the federal government to health centers and pharmacies. It is planning to distribute masks for children in the coming weeks.