LA DROPS plans for indoor mask mandate after cities rebelled and Covid rates ‘stabilized’

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Los Angeles County has suspended plans to bring back a universal mandate for indoor masks as the Covid wave subsides and hospital admissions have stabilized, the city’s health director announced Thursday.

Health Director Barbara Ferrer had warned two weeks ago that the LA County Department of Public Health could reintroduce a face covering requirement if trends in hospitalizations continue by criteria set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But yesterday, in the much-anticipated weekly public health briefing, she announced that the country’s most populous county had sidestepped the need to re-impose the broad mask rule.

“We’re on the decline right now, and it’s hard for us to imagine reintroducing universal indoor masking when we’re at this significant decline,” Ferrer said.

The decision was made after the number of daily cases in LA County dropped 30 percent in the two-week period determining whether the order would be fulfilled — from nearly 6,000 daily cases to 4,169 a day. Deaths also halved, from eight a day to four in the Southern California county.

It’s likely the county would have seen an uprising had they tried to get citizens to wear masks indoors again, with Beverley Hills, Pasadena, El Segundo and Long Beach all coming out to say they wouldn’t have the rule. enforced .

Cases and deaths have plummeted across the country in recent weeks as America appears to have dodged what many had warned of a massive summer surge sparked by the burgeoning BA.5 variant. After significant downward shifts in mid-July, US cases and deaths have stabilized at 131,478 and 417 per day, respectively.

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer (speaking at a public health briefing on May 8) announced that the nation's most populous county will not introduce a universal mandate for indoor masks.

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer (speaking at a public health briefing on May 8) announced that the nation’s most populous county will not introduce a universal mandate for indoor masks.

The decision came as the county’s level of community transfer remained at the CDC’s “high” level, but based on recent Covid data, it was predicted to drop to “average” in the coming weeks.

County guidelines require Los Angeles County to reinstate an indoor mask mandate for all indoor public spaces if it reaches levels of “high” COVID-19 risk per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics for at least 14 consecutive days.

On July 14, the city reached a level of high transmission, raising fears that it would be the first city to restore masks to tackle the BA.5 variant.

A sharp turnaround in the Covid situation since then has spared Angelenos. Updated numbers Thursday night dropped the province back into the zone of ‘average’ Covid risk.

If orders had been entered, it was likely that some individual parts of the province would have chosen not to adhere to larger orders.

“My colleagues on the City Council and I believe that the decision to wear a mask should be the choice of the individual and not imposed by LA County,” said Mayor Drew Boyles in El Segundo, a southern city in the United States. LA with Santa Monica Bay. a statement made before the announcement.

Ferrer said transmission has been declining steadily since July 23, pointing to flat and declining data. Hospital admissions have also fallen, “possibly the beginning of a downward trend in cases.”

However, she warned that the situation was under constant surveillance and could be reviewed if transfer and hospitalizations turned the other way.

Ferrer reminded residents that, while not mandatory, face masks were still an effective and recommended tool for limiting the spread of Covid.

The mask mandate for some indoor spaces, including healthcare facilities, subways and buses, airports, prisons and homeless shelters, remains in effect.

If the new requirements had come into effect, masks would be required to be worn at all times in all indoor public spaces, including shared offices, manufacturing facilities, warehouses, shops, restaurants and bars, theaters and schools.

Two people pictured with face coverings on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, in May 2020

Two people pictured with face coverings on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, in May 2020

Two people pictured with face coverings on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, in May 2020

Lili Bosse, the Democratic mayor of Beverly Hills, told Fox and Friends yesterday that her city would ignore any mask mandate.

She had previously rejected the possibility of enforcing an inner mask mandate, and the council, led by herself, voted unanimously not to commit any resources.

Beverly Hills Democrat Mayor Lili Bosse (pictured) told Fox & Friends that her city would not enforce an indoor mask mandate if LA County mandates it

Beverly Hills Democrat Mayor Lili Bosse (pictured) told Fox & Friends that her city would not enforce an indoor mask mandate if LA County mandates it

Beverly Hills Democrat Mayor Lili Bosse (pictured) told Fox & Friends that her city would not enforce an indoor mask mandate if LA County mandates it

Both Long Beach and Pasadena, which are within LA County but have their own health departments, also said they would not enforce the mandate.

‘The [Long Beach] Health Department strongly encourages people to take personal responsibility and common sense measures to protect themselves, their loved ones and the wider community from Covid-19,” said a statement from Long Beach.

“People are advised to mask indoors in public places, do rapid tests before and three to five days after social gatherings, and choose outdoor activities whenever possible.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said she was pleased with Ferrer’s announcement because “unenforceable mandates don’t work.”

“I am hopeful that we will now be able to move from this heightened focus on masking mandates to what really matters – aiming at advancing the efficacy of vaccines and boosters, improving access to COVID-19 treatments and continuing to educate residents about the benefits of masking,” Barger said in a statement on Thursday.

“I feel comfortable leaving this decision in the very capable hands of the public.”

The BA.5 variant has caused an increase in Covid cases in many parts of America. Some experts even feared it would trigger a summer surge similar to what hit the US in both 2020 and 2021.

It is feared that it is the most communicable version of the virus so far originated in the US by health officials.

It is also immune-evasive and can bypass the protection a person may have against a previous Covid infection. Experts believe that a person can be re-infected with BA.5 within weeks of recovering from another version of the Omicron variant.

This is a potentially worrying prospect that is changing the understanding of many of the pandemic.

BA.5 has grown rapidly in its prevalence across America and now accounts for nearly four out of every five cases in the US

Although the number of cases grew in the first half of July, the full increase has yet to materialize. With major cities like Los Angeles and New York already seeing cases stagnate and plummet, it’s likely America has already weathered the storm.

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