L.A. County Department Of Public Health “Strongly” Recommends Indoor Masking As Delta Variant Spreads

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health backtracked on its Covid guidelines Monday, “strongly” recommending masking in all indoor public places, due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant.

The County is advising that all residents mask up indoors, regardless of Covid-19 vaccination status. Public Health’s “recommendation” is currently just that, rather than an official health order.

It comes following reports of three new deaths from Covid in the greater Los Angeles area, and 238 new positive cases.

“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,” said the agency in a statement.

The Delta variant of Covid-19, originating in India, has been blamed for outbreaks of the virus in that country and others, including the United Kingdom. Federal health authorities now estimate that 20% of all new Covid cases in the U.S. are due to the Delta variant.

Today’s recommendation in L.A. mirrors one made last weekend by the World Health Organization. It also follows the recent reinstatement of indoor mask requirements in Israel, due to the spread of the Delta variant.

L.A. County officials noted today that fully vaccinated individuals are “well-protected” against the variant. Still, it poses great risk to those who are only partially vaccinated, or who have not been vaccinated at all.

The County’s recommendation follows its reopening on June 15, which saw mask-wearing rules ease significantly. As of two weeks ago, fully vaccinated residents have been permitted to stop wearing masks in most environments, apart from indoor “mega-events” attended by 5,000 or more people, and businesses that continue to require them.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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