L.A. County Is Recommending that People Go Back to Wearing Masks Indoors

Health officials are making the suggestion as the highly transmissible Delta variant spreads

It’s been just two weeks since California emerged from its tiered COVID-19 reopening framework, ditching mask and distancing mandates for vaccinated people in most situations. Already, Los Angeles County public health department is recommending that vaccinated people go back to masking in indoor public settings like movie theaters, grocery stores, and retail stores as the Delta variant spikes.

“Until we better understand how and to who the Delta variant is spreading, everyone should focus on maximum protection with minimum interruption to routine as all businesses operate without other restrictions, like physical distancing and capacity limits,” the department said in a news release.

At the moment, more transmissible Delta variants make up nearly half of all variants sequenced in L.A. County, according to the health department.

“While COVID-19 vaccine provides very effective protection preventing hospitalizations and deaths against the Delta variant, the strain is proving to be more transmissible and is expected to become more prevalent,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in the release. “Mask wearing remains an effective tool for reducing transmission, especially indoors where the virus may be easily spread through inhalation of aerosols emitted by an infected person.”

The masking suggestion (which isn’t a mandate) is in line with a new World Health Organization recommendation, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance still says that vaxxed  people don’t have to mask in many public indoor settings.

Just last week, the county saw the largest daily number of new COVID-19 cases since May 15.

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