Los Angeles County officials on Monday urged residents to put on masks one more time when inside public spaces, citing the rapid spread of the highly communicable delta variant of COVID-19 across the country.
The updated guideline comes despite the vaccination status of residents and reflects the severity of the strain, which has already become the dominant variant of the virus in the UK. Top health officials have predicted that it will soon become the dominant strain in the United States as well. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that it currently accounts for about 20% of newly diagnosed cases, compared to about 10% just a week earlier.)
“While the 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 be more prevalent.” Barbara ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said in a statement. “The use of masks remains an effective tool to reduce transmission, especially indoors, where the virus can easily spread through inhalation of aerosols emitted by an infected person.”
The delta variant has now been found in 49 states and at least 85 countries, and the World Health Organization also said it was deeply troubled by tension this week. The group urged fully vaccinated people to continue wearing masks to prevent infection.
State and local guidance changes have recently allowed vaccinated Californians to remove face covers in most situations, although unvaccinated individuals are still required to wear them. Public health officials noted Monday that fully vaccinated people “appear to be well protected from delta variant infections,” but added that those who have only received one injection remain at high risk.
Just under 50% of Californians are fully vaccinated and about 61% have received at least one injection.
“If you are not fully vaccinated, your mask is one of the most powerful tools you have to protect yourself and other unvaccinated people,” the Los Angeles Department of Public Health said Monday. “This is especially true when you are in a crowded indoor or outdoor space.”
Infection rates and deaths from COVID-19 have declined in recent months as the country’s vaccination program accelerated, and nearly all pandemic-related deaths in the U.S. are now among non-people. vaccinated, The Associated Press. reported In the past week. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, urged Americans to get vaccinated when he warned the public about the delta variant earlier this month.
“The delta variant is currently the biggest threat in the United States to our attempt to eliminate COVID-19,” Fauci said at a news conference last week. “We have the tools, so let’s use them and crush the sprout.”
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