Los Angeles County officials recommend that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks or face shields “urgently” in indoor public places due to the rapid spread of the more easily transmitted variant of the delta coronavirus.
“The public health service strongly recommends the use of masks indoors. … Until we better understand how and to whom the Delta variant spreads, everyone should focus on maximum protection with minimal disruption to routine, as all companies operate without other restrictions such as physical distancing and capacity limits. ” said the Los Angeles Health Department.
The recommendation is a step back from current guidelines that allow fully vaccinated people to live without a mask in most settings.
Los Angeles Public Health reported that for the week ending June 12, the Delta variant comprised nearly half of all variants sequenced in Los Angeles County. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the Delta variant is now responsible for about 1 in 5 new COVID-19 infections in the United States.
The number marks an increase of about 1 in 10 cases the week before. The Delta variant was first identified in India and is responsible for the devastating and overwhelming eruption that country experienced. The strain, which is much more transmissible than others, has also been identified as the cause of cluster outbreaks in the UK.
Public health officials have advised people, including those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, to wear face covers in grocery and retail stores, theaters, family entertainment centers and workplaces.
While fully vaccinated people appear to be “well protected from Delta variant infections,” people on a single dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are not as well protected.
Additionally, the lowest number of COVID-19 infections among fully vaccinated people was mild.
LA Public Health reported three new deaths and 259 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, but said those numbers likely represent a delay in reporting over the weekend.