President Biden is calling for states and local authorities to reinstate mask mandates and to pause other reopening efforts.
"I'm reiterating my call for every governor, mayor, and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate," Biden said on Monday. "Please, this is not politics. Reinstate the mandate if you let it down."
Roughly 17 states have either lifted their mask mandates or never originally enacted them.
Biden also called for private businesses to continue requiring masks.
"This is deadly serious," Biden said. "The failure to take this virus seriously is what precisely got us into this mess in the first place.
The president additionally slammed people traveling for spring break.
"New variants are spreading, and sadly, some of the reckless behavior we've seen on television over the past few weeks means that more new cases are to come in the weeks ahead," he said. "...Now is not the time to let down. Now is not the time to celebrate."