Only 11 days after California Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom announced the reopening of the state and the removal of COVID mandates, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is recommending that all residents begin to wear masks again in public indoor spaces, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated for the coronavirus, fearing the Delta variant.
County officials are urging people to "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."
Officials wrote 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 officials added that "fully vaccinated people appear to be well protected from infections with Delta variants."
Health officials are concerned about those who have not been vaccinated believing that the variant, first identified in India and is known as B.1.617.2, may be twice as transmissible as the original COVID-19 strains. LA County has confirmed 123 Delta variant cases as of last week and accounts for 14.5 percent of COVID-19 cases analyzed in June, up from 4.7 percent in May.
LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement, "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. 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."