So if you had been thinking, "I'm going to avoid crowds until my county isn't SCORCHING RED", congratulations! CDC has solved that problem for you, without any of the underlying numbers having substantially changed!
And of course CDC is uninterested in talking about Long COVID at all.
As far as I can tell, the motivation here is:
"Federal, State and Local government functionaries, along with people in rural diners and lunatic Qanons, have decided that masking is over, and so we must make our guidance reflect the 'Personal Freedoms' that these idiots are going to do anyway."
The new "low" threshold is 2× the old "high" threshold.
So overnight we went from "Holy shit, the whole country is red, we are letting the virus rip, Omicron is going to kill us all" to... "It's fiiiiiiine, everybody get back to work, go to the mall, book a flight, so that we can put out some press releases about Strong Economic Growth so that we don't get slaughtered in the midterms."
[Narrator: they are going to get absolutely slaughtered in the midterms regardless.]
I say this seriously and it is not a contested statement: the new CDC guidance is predicated on the assumption that you are entirely okay with catching Covid and passing it on to others. If you are NOT okay with that, you're just a footnote in the new guidance.
The new CDC "Community Levels" determining when they do or don't recommend masks have virtually no connection to your risk of catching Covid; they're just about whether there's a decent chance you'll die specifically because local hospitals are full with your neighbors.
CDC says it's ok to unmask now because there's still local freezer truck morgue capacity available in your area.
Update: To clarify: it's not entirely accurate to describe what CDC has done as "recoloring the map". They didn't just change the scale or the map key: they are actually measuring different data now.
That old map, the all-red map on the left, is a map of new infections per 100k people: it correlates well to your chance of exposure and infection. CDC's term for this is "Community Transmission".
The map on the right is the new one that they say we should be paying attention to instead: the "Community Levels" map, which is basically new infections DIVIDED BY available hospital beds. So COVID could be absolutely ripping through your community, but if you happen to have an excess of ICU capacity, that map is going to be green and tell you "you're golden, go eat at indoor restaurants and don't worry about it."