Los Angeles County
announced Thursday that residents, regardless of vaccination
status, will be required to wear masks
indoors again due to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant
The new ordinance takes effect late Saturday night, just a month after California
lifted most restrictions on vaccinated people
and reopened its economy
“We’re not where we need to be for the millions of people at risk of infection here in Los Angeles County, and waiting will be too late given what we’re seeing now,” said Dr. Muntu Davis, the county’s health officer, during a news conference
Previously, those who had been fully vaccinated were allowed to remove their masks across California, but health officials said the new measures would help slow the spread of the delta strain. The orders will be in effect for the foreseeable future, though Davis stressed that more restrictions could be imposed if case numbers continue to rise.
“Wearing a mask indoors with others reduces the risk of both getting and transmitting the virus,” Los Angeles Public Health
tweeted. “We’re requiring masking for everyone while indoors at public settings & businesses, regardless of vaccination status, so that we can stop the increased level of transmission we’re seeing.”
We’re requiring masking for everyone indoors at public settings and businesses, regardless of vaccination status, to stop the increased level of transmission we’re seeing. pic.twitter.com/xmr77qsmBv — LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) July 15, 2021
In late June, Los Angeles public health officials urged residents to wear masks again in public places, citing the spread of the delta strain, which has since become the dominant variant of COVID-19 in the United States
Los Angeles County is averaging more than 1,000 new cases per day, up from 173 cases per day when the state was still under virus restrictions in mid-June. However, the Los Angeles Times notes that cases and hospitalizations are more than 93% lower than they were at the peak of the pandemic
, and deaths
Despite the increase in cases linked to the delta variant, health officials have emphasized that vaccines
remain the best way to combat serious illness and death. Dr. Anthony Fauci
, the nation's top infectious disease expert, has continued to urge Americans to get vaccinated, and figures show that nearly all of the country's COVID-19 deaths are among the unvaccinated.
Approximately 51% of California's population is fully immunized.