With cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant on the rise, health and government officials in Los Angeles County have announced new safety measures in the city. Their latest mandate will require all people, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings when attending "Outdoor Mega-Events," defined as having a crowd size of 10,000 or more.
The mandate, which covers music festivals, sporting events, parades and more, officially goes into effect today, August 19th at 11:59PM. It also stacks on top of an existing county-wide order instated in July that requires people to wear masks in public indoor spaces.
"COVID-19 infection remains a significant health hazard to all residents," the order states. "We must remain vigilant against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, especially given high levels of transmission here and in other parts of the world, and due to the possibility of a new variant being identified for which the current COVID-19 vaccines may not be effective."
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As of August 8th, nearly 2.5 million eligible residents of Los Angeles County had yet to be vaccinated, according to the edict. The county has also seen COVID-19 test positivity and related hospitalizations "dramatically increase" in recent weeks.
In a recent press briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci revealed the Delta variant to be at least twice as contagious as the Alpha strain, which accounted for the majority of case counts in 2020. Fauci currently serves as President Biden's chief medical advisor in charge of the country's response to the pandemic.