This is 16 million fewer people than just last week, when about 7% of the US population lived in a county considered to have a “high” community level. Two weeks ago, when the CDC first released the new metrics, about 28% of the US population lived in a county considered to have a high community level.

According to Thursday’s update, nearly 73% of the US population now lives in a county considered to have a “low” community level, where there is no recommendation for masking.

The remaining 21% live in a county considered to have a “medium” community level, where the CDC recommends that immunocompromised people and those at high risk for severe disease consider taking extra precautions against Covid-19.

This data “can help counties make informed decisions and take appropriate public health actions,” the CDC said in a statement.

The CDC’s Covid-19 community level metrics are based on three things: new COVID-19 hospitalizations, hospital capacity and new COVID-19 cases.

More than a third of the people who still live in counties considered to have a high Covid-19 community level are in Texas and Kentucky. Hidalgo County in south Texas is the most populous county to still have a high community level.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced Tuesday that state mask mandate there will expire this month, making it the last state to drop this requirement.



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