In May, federal health officials in the United States said that Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks, even indoors. Salah set the stage for a national reopening that continues to gain momentum.
But he. was before the spread of delta version, a highly contagious form of the virus was first detected in India and later identified in at least 85 countries. It now accounts for one in five infections in the United States.
Worried about the global jump in cases, the World Health Organization last week reiterated its old recommendation that everyone wear masks.
On Monday, health officials in Los Angeles County followed suit, recommending that “everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask indoors in public places as a precaution.”
The county’s director of public health, Barbara Ferrer, said the new recommendation was due to an increase in infections, a worrisome delta version of cases, and a consistently high number of unvaccinated residents, especially children, black and Latino residents and essential workers was required. .
Nearly half of Los Angeles County residents fully vaccinated, and about 60 percent have taken at least one dose. While the number of positive tests in the county is still less than 1 percent, the rate is rising, Dr. Ferrer said, and the number of reinfections has increased among residents who were previously infected and not vaccinated.
Dr. Ferrer said the extent to which Los Angeles County has managed to control the pandemic is due to a multi-pronged strategy, which includes vaccination combined with health restrictions, aimed at preventing new infections. He said natural immunity in people already infected has also kept transmission down, but it is not clear how long natural immunity will last.
“We don’t want to revert here to a lockdown or a more disruptive mandate,” Dr Ferrer said. “We just want to stay on that path, which is keeping community transmission really low.”
Health officials in Chicago and New York City indicated this week that they have no plans to revisit mask requirements. Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declined to comment, but have not indicated any intention to revise or re-test masking recommendations for people who have been fully vaccinated.
But the trajectory of the delta variant outside the United States suggests that concerns are likely to intensify.