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The Biden administration is expected to significantly ease federal mask-wearing guidelines to protect against the spread of COVID-19, The Associated Press and ABC News reported.

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The AP, citing two anonymous sources “familiar with the matter,” said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday will announce a change to the metrics it uses to determine whether to recommend face coverings.

A loosening of restrictions means that most Americans will no longer be advised to wear masks in indoor settings, according to the news organization.

ABC News, quoting an anonymous official, said the new metrics will outline how the U.S. should move into the next phase of the pandemic.

The new metrics will still consider caseloads, but will also take into account hospitalizations and local hospital capacity, the AP reported.

Case numbers have been significantly lower during the emergence of the omicron variant, the news outlet reported. While the strain is highly transmissible, it is apparently less severe than earlier strains.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has said the agency was updating the guidance.

“Moving forward, our approach will advise enhanced prevention efforts in communities with a high volume of severe illness and will also focus on protecting our healthcare systems from being overwhelmed,” Walensky tweeted Thursday.

Walensky has cautioned, though, that there will not be a “date certain” that will signal the end of the pandemic, ABC News reported.

“I think we’re gonna tiptoe out of this and that we will very gradually, one day, realize in retrospect, we’re no longer in this anymore, or at least in it the way we have been for the last two years,” Walensky said during a podcast interview on Tuesday.

The change comes as nearly every U.S. state that had indoor mask-wearing mandates in place during the omicron surge are allowing them to lapse as cases have fallen nationwide, the AP reported.

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