Los Angeles County Will Mandate Masks Indoors to Combat Delta

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Los Angeles County will require masks to be worn indoors as Delta variant spreads.

  • July 15, 2021, 5:41 p.m. ET

Los Angeles County announced Thursday that it will require masks to be worn inside regardless of vaccination status, as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads throughout California.

Public health officials in the county had already been urging residents to wear masks indoors. The mandate will begin Saturday night, just before midnight.

The Delta variant is extremely contagious, scientists say, and may cause more severe illness, though vaccinated people are generally protected. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, has described it as “the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate Covid-19.” Estimates from the C.D.C. suggest that the variant is now responsible for about one in every four cases in the United States. In Los Angeles County, scientists found that it accounted for nearly half of all of the variants genetically sequenced.

Some experts have said they didn’t think the Delta variant was a particular threat in Los Angeles, where huge swaths of the population have already been infected with the virus, and vaccination rates are relatively high.

Still, other experts have noted that there are millions of Californians — including children and Black and Latino essential workers — who have not yet been vaccinated.

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