The dismissal of mask mandates in various states across the nation has the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concerned about the potential surge in cases.

The national health agency stressed that infections are still increasing at a rate too high to stop wearing masks. According to The Washington Post, the U.S. is recording over 270,000 daily new COVID cases.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that “now is not the moment” for states to drop mask mandates. “I know people are interested in taking masks off,” she said. “I too am interested. That would be one marker that we have much of the pandemic behind us."

Walensky also clarified that the CDC will leave its guidelines unchanged, and stands with schools that are endorsing mask mandates. “We have and continue to recommend masking in areas of high and substantial transmission, that is essentially everywhere in the country in public indoor settings."

As various health experts believe that the spread of the Omicron variant could be shorter compared to the variants that came before it, Walensky emphasized that milder instances of COVID ​​"does not mean mild,” adding that “we cannot look past the strain on our health systems and substantial number of deaths.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the statewide mask mandate will no longer apply to vaccinated individuals starting Feb. 15. Gov. Kathy Hochul is dropping New York's mask mandate for businesses effective on Thursday. New Jersey, Delaware, Oregon and Connecticut announced Monday that masks will not be obligatory in schools.