As the number of COVID-19 infections caused by the delta variant continues to grow, speculation is swirling about whether residents in areas with high infection rates can expect new pandemic-era mandates soon.
Last week, face masks was again required in restaurants and other public places in Los Angeles County, which has been reported a spike in new cases at a rate not seen since March. While law enforcement said they were planning to… an educational rather than a punitive approach to offenders, those who do not comply can technically be cited or fined for not covering their faces, regardless of their vaccination status.
The city of Berkeley and seven other counties in California soon followed suit with a recommendation to citizens to wear masks indoors again.
according to Restaurants, the moves have led to predictions that other areas with peak cases will soon follow and re-impose mask mandates. US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said masks are one of the measures likely to make a comeback.
“What we’re seeing in LA County is worrying,” Murthy told the ABC Sunday news program This Week. “For communities where they’re seeing a significant increase in cases — LA County is one of those counties — I think they want to take mitigation measures to reduce that spread. And masks are one of them.”
Former Surgeon General Jerome Adams made a similar statement. “We need to prepare the public for what, again, could be a return to some of these mitigation measures,” he told Indianapolis TV station WISH-TV on Sunday, citing growing cases in the Midwest.
This is in stark contrast to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations in May, which stated that vaccinated Americans can forgo masks in many situations, even indoors.
Director of the National Institutes of Health Francis S. Collins told the: Washington Post this week that the CDC recommendations were released before the emergence of the highly contagious delta variant, and before the degree of hesitation in some parts of the country became apparent.
While the restaurant industry was just beginning to regain its post-pandemic position and welcomed the end of mask mandates, reinstating them later in the year may help avoid more drastic measures.
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