Los Angeles County will reimpose its mask mandate amid a spike in COVID-19 infection, the latest signal that health officials are grappling with an alarming rise in coronavirus cases tied to the highly contagious Delta variant.
Dr. Muntu Davis of the LA County Health Department on Thursday said he was seeing “substantial community transmission of COVID-19,” and that the requirement to mask up indoors applied whether you’ve been vaccinated or not.
“Masking indoors must again become a normal practice by all regardless of vaccination status, so we can stop the trends and level of transmission we're currently seeing.”
LA County is home to 10 million people and the nation's second-largest city, Los Angeles.
It’s one of several jurisdictions to recommend or mandate wearing masks or other pandemic restrictions in recent days as cases rise to worrisome levels in many parts of the United States.
U.S. cases of COVID-19 are up 70% over the previous week and deaths are up 26%.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing on Friday the outbreaks were occurring in parts of the country with low vaccination rates:
"This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Over 97% of people entering the hospital right now are unvaccinated."
The seven-day-average number of daily cases is now more than 26,000, more than twice its June low of around 11,000 cases, according to CDC data.
U.S. cases plummeted in the spring as the vaccine rolled out following a winter spike in infections, but shots have slowed and only about 51% of the country has been vaccinated.