MILWAUKEE — Under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new guidelines released Friday, most Americans can go without wearing a mask indoors safely.
Data shows more than 70% of the U.S. population lives in an area with low or medium COVID-19 risks, which means masks are no longer recommended for the general public.
Currently, in Milwaukee, the mask mandate is set to expire on March 1.
Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson says the new guidelines are expected to be updated on local platforms Wednesday.
"These new metrics are really intended to look at our most vulnerable populations and at our hospitals and their ability to respond," said Johnson.
The metrics are made up of 3 levels:
- Low: Indoor masks are not needed
- Medium: People who are at high risk of severe COVID should consult with their doctor about prevention measures including masks
- High: Indoor mask use is recommended
Milwaukee County ranks in the medium level of risk.
"So if you are immunocompromised, you're not vaccinated, if you have family members that are more vulnerable, you should absolutely continue to wear a mask if that's what you're comfortable with. For people that don't have any of those underlying conditions, it is safe to take them off," said Johnson.
The CDC also only recommends masking for schools in areas of the high category.
UWM has plans to lift its mask mandate on March 19 for all students, staff, and visitors.
Milwaukee School of Engineering also adjusting their policy beginning March 1. Masks will remain in-classrooms and labs but optional in all other areas of campus.
Marquette University says they are still evaluating their mitigation efforts.