Some In US Pushing For More COVID Restrictions, Masking, As Delta Variant Spreads

Some In US Pushing For More COVID Restrictions, Masking, As Delta Variant Spreads

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As the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus spreads around the world and within the United States, some in the U.S. are pushing to bring back health measures from the peak of the pandemic, like mask-wearing, even for vaccinated people. 

No jurisdiction has reinstituted a mask requirement or other similar mandate yet, and officials in some states have said the evidence currently suggests doing so is unnecessary. But other jurisdictions are raising the alarm that the Delta variant, which was first discovered in India, could require a retreat to pandemic health measures. And some individuals are explicitly calling for mask mandates. 

“With increase circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health… strongly recommends everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places as a precautionary measure,” Los Angeles County said in a statement last week. 

Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health, acknowledged that vaccines are “very effective” in protecting against the Delta variant. But, she added, “Mask wearing remains an effective tool for reducing transmission, especially indoors where the virus may be easily spread through inhalation of aerosols emitted by an infected person.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, arrives for a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss the ongoing federal response to COVID-19 on May 11, 2021, in Washington, D.C.  (Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

LA COUNTY ‘STRONGLY RECOMMENDS’ MASKS INDOORS OVER DELTA VARIENT, REGARDLESS OF VACCINATION STATUS

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s chief epidemiologist, is also encouraging vaccinated people to wear masks if they are somewhere with a low vaccination rate. He said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that there’s “good reason” to wear masks if you are vaccinated and in an area where the vaccination rate is low. “Nothing is 100%,” he added. 

But others experts say the concern about the Delta variant is overblown and returning to strict health measures could be harmful. Johns Hopkins School of Medicine professor Dr. Marty Makary told Fox News that guidance like Los Angeles’ “sends the wrong message” for increasing vaccination levels.

“While 40-60% more contagious,” Makary said of the Delta variant, “the COVID in all its variant forms is circulating at very low levels in the population. The only people who should be concerned are those who do not have immunity either through vaccination or natural immunity.”

“At this point, everyone at-risk has had the opportunity to get vaccinated,” Makary continued. “Those who are not immune are choosing to do so at their own personal risk.”

Markary added that the initial reasoning for COVID restrictions in early 2020 wasn’t to prevent all infection but to prevent hospitals from being overrun. “That is no longer a concer

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