CDC: With COVID-19 infections rising, a third of U.S. should consider indoor masks

People wearing masks in Virginia.
(Image credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are on the rise in the United States, and about a third of the population is living in spots that are considered at higher risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.

The higher risk areas are primarily in the Northeastern U.S. and Midwest, and people there should consider wearing masks indoors and making sure they get their boosters, officials said. The number of COVID-19 cases has gone up in the past five weeks, with a 26 percent increase nationally in the last week, and hospitalizations were up 19 percent in the last week. This is fueled by the Omicron subvariant.

During a news briefing at the White House, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters people who don't live in these higher risk places should still stay informed about case levels. "Prior increases of infections, in different waves of infection, have demonstrated that this travels across the country," she said.

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White House COVID-19 coordinator Ashish Jha told The Associated Press last week that the U.S. will run out of COVID-19 treatments in the winter unless Congress quickly approves new funding to buy more. A lack of access to vaccines and treatments would lead to "unnecessary loss of life," Jha said, adding that the U.S. is already behind other countries in getting supplies of the next-generation of COVID-19 vaccines.

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