The state of California opened completely up on June 15, but Los Angeles County is urging residents to continue taking precaution amid the rise in COVID cases due to the Delta variant.
Los Angeles County public health officials are now “strongly” recommending everyone to wear masks in indoor public places, regardless of vaccination status, due to an increased spread of the Delta variant.
The recommendation, which officials say is a precautionary measure, is a shift from current guidance, which allows fully vaccinated people to go maskless in most settings.
“Public Health strongly recommends people wear masks indoors in settings such as grocery or retail stores; theaters and family entertainment centers, and workplaces when you don’t know everyone’s vaccination status,” L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a statement.”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 statement added.
The Delta variant of COVID-19 originated in India, and is blamed for rampant infections in that country and outbreaks in the United Kingdom and beyond. Federal health authorities are estimating that 20% of all new COVID infections in the country are now due to the Delta variant, up from 10% a week ago.
The variant is considered to be far more contagious than previous mutations of the COVID-19 virus, and potentially capable of making patients more severely ill. Health officials have said people who are fully vaccinated are protected against the variant.
“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,” L.A. 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.”
Let us help make this clear — do you know how people get a flu shot every year but sometimes still get the flu? The COVID vaccine works similarly. It severely decreases your chance of catching COVID, but if you DO happen to get it — your symptoms will be mild. If you don’t want to run the risk of catching COVID now that there’s a more contagious variant going around, it’s best you wear your mask — even if you’ve been vaccinated.