Masks are poised to become mandatory in indoor Los Angeles venues in the coming weeks as Democratic officials panic over rising Covid cases.
The county’s Covid response policy states that after a period of “high” Covid transmission, a mask mandate will be activated. In previous cases, the time limit was set at 14 days.
Los Angeles County is recording 3,186 Covid infections daily, a big increase from the 1,000 daily cases recorded in early November. It also records eight deaths every day.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, LA County public health director, said on Thursday the town was moving from “low” to “medium” Covid transmission. If trends in cases and hospitalizations continue, next week will be “high,” she warned.
Covid has been replaced as the respiratory virus causes the most problems for Americans, with cases of the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) filling hospitals across the US.
The number of Covid cases in the US has risen in recent days, but still remains well below the 100,000 daily cases in early December last year and the 90,000 daily cases recorded in August
Covid deaths have remained low in recent months – a time when they have risen over the past two years
“We’d come back and say our healthcare system is getting stressed, we need to slow transmission,” said Dr. Ferrer at a press conference Thursday.
She didn’t specify when exactly the masks would return, but rather stated a two-week timeline.
Dr. LA County public health director Barbara Ferrer (pictured) warned Thursday that the health care system was strained by a recent surge in cases and hospitalizations
“We’re going to have to look at the rate of increase and what we see in terms of that to decide what that time frame is [to reinstate masks] would be,” she added.
The province of Southern California, which is home to nearly 10 million residents, only dropped its order for masks in March.
If it does return, Angelinos will be forced to wear masks at the gym, concerts, sports venues and other indoor facilities.
Under Los Angeles County Covid policy, the mandate is to return after 14 days with “high” transmission.
This means residents must wear face coverings in indoor public areas such as gyms, entertainment venues and on public transportation.
Los Angeles nearly brought back its mask mandate in July, when it hit a high Covid transmission level for 13 days — before falling just short of settling into place.
It also records 674 daily Covid hospitalizations and a test positivity rate of about 11 percent.
These categories are determined by the GGD and take into account figures on Covid cases and hospital admissions. The number of dead is not part of the calculation.
A county must have fewer than 200 weekly cases and fewer than 10 Covid hospitalizations per 100,000 population per record to be considered “low.”
The next major COVID strain is about to be more deadly, doctors warn
The world’s next major Covid strain is poised to be more severe than the mild strains that currently dominate the world, according to a new study.
The ultra-contagious Omicron strain emerged almost exactly one year ago, and its mutant spinoffs have risen to the top in virtually every country in the world.
They are much milder than the older versions of the virus and many researchers believed they were some kind of endgame to the evolution of Covid, which, like many viruses before it, mutate to become milder so they can spread more easily.
But researchers in South Africa say the virus could still become more deadly after examining an immunocompromised HIV patient who carried the virus for six months.
Infected Covid patients must also occupy less than 10 percent of the available hospital beds.
Los Angeles records 196 infections per 100,000 residents every week, just below the threshold.
With a drop of between 10 and 19.9 Covid admissions per 100,000 or 10 to 14.9 percent of hospital beds used by these patients, a province is in “medium” transmission.
This is where Los Angeles currently stands in early December.
Officials fear hospital admissions will reach 20 per 100,000 residents or 15 percent hospital capacity next week.
If either point is reached, the CDC will classify the county as a high Covid transmission area.
If a county records more than 200 weekly infections per 100,000 residents — with fewer than 10 hospitalizations taking up less than 10 percent of beds — then they are considered to be suffering from average transmission.
Counties with more than 200 confirmed cases per week and more than 10 hospitalizations per 100,000 — or with more than one in 10 beds used by Covid patients — are under “high” transmission.
Bringing back the mask mandate would be a controversial move as many Americans are already past the COVID-19 pandemic.
Christina Pushaw, popular right-wing media personality and aide to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, wrote further Twitter: ‘I will be there for Christmas and will not comply.’
Susan Shelly, a columnist for Los Angeles daily newswrote that bringing back indoor masks would be less about public health and more about government control.
“The problem with government recommendations is that the government is not authorized to give advice,” she said.
The number of deaths in Los Angeles has fallen sharply over the past three months, to four a day at the end of November. According to the most recent data, the province records seven daily deaths
When the issue came up over the summer, the health departments of both Long Beach and Pasadena — which fall within the county — said they wouldn’t comply.
Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse, a Democrat whose city falls in LA County, also said she would not enforce the order.
Covid has been declining nationwide in recent months.
America is recording 49,070 cases per day — a far drop from the more than 100,000 per day recorded in early December 2021 and well below the 90,000 daily cases recorded in August.
However, daily infections have risen in the past two weeks, with a 22 percent increase.
The CDC also reports 274 daily Covid deaths in the US.
This has resulted in demand for the bivalent COVID-19 booster, matched to the Omicron variant, falling flat during the rollout.
Only 40 million Americans have received the shot since it became available in late August — just 1 percent of the population.
Despite minimal injection coverage, Covid cases have not risen. An expected rise in late summer never materialized and late fall cases have not reached the same level as previous years.