PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - You can take the mask off - that's the message from the CDC for most people in most areas.
The CDC says if hospitalizations in any area are still high, then keep masking indoors, but otherwise, they can come off.
Here in Pittsburgh, hospitalizations are manageable and masks can come off.
Johns Hopkins University's infectious disease specialist Dr. Amesh Adalja told KDKA it's time for the CDC to quit basing its guidelines on case counts.
"I think this guidance makes sense, it really reflects where we're going with this endemic where we're going to be focused much more on severe disease than we are on all diseases for all cases," he said.
Dr. Adalja said those who are vulnerable should continue to wear masks but for the rest, it's OK to let them go.
"There's always going to be COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and even deaths but what will happen? Over time COVID-19 will become much more manageable, which like other respiratory viruses because we've got tools because we've got immunity because we've got the knowledge," he explained. "So it won't be this kind of perpetual state of emergency. It will be something that's managed like day-to-day infections."
While there could be a slight uptick in cases, Dr. Adalja said schools should also feel free to drop the masks.
"I do think it's time for schools to have an off-ramp to COVID mitigation, but I think that the changing of the CDC guidance is a good time to do that."
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