Based on updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, more than half the U.S. population lives in an area where masking is urged.
According to data from the CDC, 54.5% of the population lives in an area with a high spread of COVID-19.
A week ago, that figure was 31.9%.
The U.S. population living in an area with low COVID-19 spread decreased from 26.4% to 15.4% in the last week.
The CDC said COVID-19 levels are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.
In addition to masking, those who live in areas with high COVID-19 levels may need to take additional precautions in addition to masking if they are at a high risk of illness. The CDC said those living in areas with medium COVID-19 levels should talk to a health care provider about precautions.
The White House said there has been a steady increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations since May, hitting 5,100 this week. There are two variants officials have noted as being more contagious than previous virus lineages. Officials from the Biden administration said they have not been able to determine whether these variants are more likely to cause severe illness.