What you need to know about the CDC’s new coronavirus guidance

People walk through Downtown Crossing in Boston on Feb. 9 as states start to drop mask mandates. (Adam Glanzman for The Washington Post)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new framework for dealing with the coronavirus Friday that eases recommendations on mask-wearing for much of the country — a move that arrives as many state and local officials had already taken such steps.

The guidelines illustrate that after more than two years of living with the virus, many communities have gained greater protection against severe illness through vaccination, treatments, better testing and higher-quality masks.

The guidance aims to allow individuals to assess personal risk based on their health status and conditions in their community, including case counts and hospital admissions and capacity. The goal is to protect people from severe illness and to prevent health-care systems from being overwhelmed.

The guidelines are intended to be flexible. The precautions can be ramped up if a new variant comes along that evades immunity conferred by vaccines and previous infections.

Here’s what you need to know:

Coronavirus: What you need to know

End of the public health emergency: The Biden administration ended the public health emergency for the coronavirus pandemic on May 11, just days after WHO said it would no longer classify the coronavirus pandemic as a public health emergency. Here’s what the end of the covid public health emergency means for you.

Tracking covid cases, deaths: Covid-19 was the fourth leading cause of death in the United States last year with covid deaths dropping 47 percent between 2021 and 2022. See the latest covid numbers in the U.S. and across the world.

The latest on coronavirus boosters: The FDA cleared the way for people who are at least 65 or immune-compromised to receive a second updated booster shot for the coronavirus. Here’s who should get the second covid booster and when.

New covid variant: A new coronavirus subvariant, XBB. 1.16, has been designated as a “variant under monitoring” by the World Health Organization. The latest omicron offshoot is particularly prevalent in India. Here’s what you need to know about Arcturus.

Would we shut down again? What will the United States do the next time a deadly virus comes knocking on the door?

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