LA County ‘strongly recommends’ masks indoors over Delta variant, regardless of vaccination status
Los Angeles County health officials on Monday said they are recommending everyone wear a mask in indoor public places – regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19 — due to the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
The recommendation, which officials described as a precautionary measure, comes after the Delta variant comprised “nearly half of all variants” sequenced in the county during the week ending June 12, according to a release by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
“Until we better understhow 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 capacity limits,” the statement read.
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The Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) noted the Delta variant is now responsible for roughly one in every five new COVID-19 cases across the U.S.– a jump from one in every 10 a week ago.
The recommendation comes weeks after the CDC said vaccinated people can go most places without masks. Fully vaccinated individuals were still advised to wear masks while in crowded indoor settings such as while on public transportation in hospitals, prisons, homeless shelters.
“While COVID-19 vaccine provides very effective protection preventing hospitalizations deaths against the Delta variant, the strain is proving to be more transmissible is expected to become more prevalent,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “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.”
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Health officials noted that fully vaccinated people appear to be well protected from the Delta variant. People who received one vaccine dose of either Pfizer or Moderna are not as well-protected, they added.
The U.S. has a higher vaccination rate than many countries struggling with the variant, daily infection rates have fallen sharply in the U.S. in the last few months as more Americans have gotten the vaccine.
Last week, about 60.5% of Californians have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, reports said. As of Monday, more than 153 million people are currently fully vaccinated in the U.S,” according to the CDC.
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There is no “widespread scientific consensus” as to whether the highly contagious Delta variant causes more serious illness than other strains,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
The World Health Organization recently urged vaccinated people to continue to wear masks social distance due to the variant.
Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report