Story at a glance
- Los Angeles County will require indoor masking regardless of vaccination status.
- Officials reported more than 400 hospitalizations in LA County.
- The requirement will take effect before midnight on Saturday.
Los Angeles County will require indoor masking regardless of vaccination status after an increase in new coronavirus cases, credited to the delta variant.
Muntu Davis, a county public health officer, said at a virtual briefing on Thursday the nation’s largest county is amid “an all-hands-on-deck moment,” The Associated Press (AP) reported. The requirement, which will take effect before midnight on Saturday, will focus on educating the public instead of ticketing violators, according to Davis.
Davis said the county is seeing more than 1,000 new daily cases, adding that the “next level is high transmission, and that’s not a place where we want to be.”
Hospitalizations have reached their highest point since April, and more than 3,600 cases were reported Thursday, according to the AP. Cases last peaked in February, rising above 40,000 per day. Davis said there are more than 400 hospitalizations in LA County.
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The county recommended earlier in July that all unvaccinated individuals wear masks in indoor public spaces.
Sixty-three percent of the California population has received at least one vaccine dose, while 51 percent have been fully vaccinated. Approximately 52 percent of LA County is fully vaccinated, New York Times COVID-19 data shows.
Robert Kim-Farley, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health, echoed fellow experts, telling The New York Times that the “increases in cases and hospitalizations are occurring among the unvaccinated”
“This virus, if you are not vaccinated, will find you,” Kim-Farley said.
Meanwhile, the University of California announced Thursday that unvaccinated students will be prohibited from campus housing, in person classes, and campus events, without approved exemptions.
“Vaccination is by far the most effective way to prevent severe disease and death after exposure to the virus and to reduce spread of the disease to those who are not able, or not yet eligible, to receive the vaccine,” UC President Michael V. Drake wrote to the university system’s chancellors, according to The AP.
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