Los Angeles County, one of the most populous counties in the United States, has made mask wearing mandatory again in both indoor and outdoor situations, saying that Covid-19 is not yet completely eradicated and a new Delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading fast.
Even for the fully vaccinated there is a high probability to get reinfected if proper precautions are not taken, the county said.
The new mandate, which kicked in July 18, comes a month after California fully reopened its economy on June 15 by lifting almost all Covid-19 restrictions.
According to the CDC, the current seven-day moving average of daily new cases (26,306) in the US increased 69.3 percent compared with the previous 7-day moving average (15,541).[https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/index.html]
As per the CDC, documented the cases of the Delta variant — the B.1.617 lineage, first identified in India — went up from 210 in June 15 (source: outbreak.info) to 2,419 in California by July 18.
According to data released July 18 by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, there were 1,635 new positive cases in the past seven days.
“We have a report there are cases of Delta variant,” Ali Sajjad Taj, mayor of city of Artesia, told indica News in reaction to the masks mandate,
Downtown Artesia — which is under Los Angeles County — is also called Little India due to the high ratio of Indian shops.
“However, the vaccination rate is high — about 70 percent are vaccinated one dose,” Mayor Taj said.
He said it was “unfortunate that some” people wished not to be vaccinated, and added: “Vaccination is also not 200 percent Covid-proof, and combinations of all those reasons are why people are getting it again.”
He expressed fears that the pandemic would stretch on.
“We are still not fully operational and right now churches, temples and religious places are still not fully opened, it is taking time,” said Taj, who also shared his concern on the impact on businesses.
“So are we doing something, certainly we are putting out messages to follow — maintain distancing, wear masks and wash hands,” he said.
Naresh Solanki, former mayor and current councilmember of Cerritos, also under LA county, said his town has not been impacted much economically because it is a leading car-dealer city in the nation.
“Our sales tax is up and sales are up and even now, the city is doing well,” said Solanki. “Our businesses were always up during Covid — the reason being people buying cars because they are avoiding to fly. The revenue from the car sales is very well.”
Solanki said his town would follow the mask mandate.
However, Harry Sidhu, mayor of the city of Anaheim, that attracted 49 million tourists in 2019 due to Disneyland, theme parks and convention center, told indica News that Orange County had not mandated masks, indoor or outdoor.
“We are going to stay under the Orange County guidelines,” said Sidhu.
Asked about cases of Delta in his city, he said: “There are few cases… but 70 percent of people are vaccinated at least with one shot.
“We expect to keep masking requirements in place until we begin to see improvements in our community transmission of COVID-19,” said Muntu Davis, Health Officer for Los Angeles County, urging all eligible residents to get vaccinated.
The mandate means all customers will again be required to mask up when entering any indoor public establishment, including retail shops, grocery stores, restaurants and workplaces.
Davis said indoor dining will remain open, but customers will have to remain masked while they are not eating or drinking.
The more transmissible Delta variant is now 71 percent of all sequences in Los Angeles County, said Davis.
Official data showed that among residents aged 16 and above in Los Angeles County, 69 percent have received at least one dose, and 61 percent have been fully vaccinated.