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Masks may return to Los Angeles as COVID surges nationwide

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Angels- Nick Barragan is accustomed to wearing masks because his work in the Los Angeles film industry has long required masks. Therefore, the most populous county in the United States, coronavirus Nationwide incidents.

“I’ve been wearing it almost all the time for the last few years, so it feels good. It’s become a habit,” said Barragan, who was masked while doing errands on Wednesday.

Los Angeles County, home to 10 million residents, faces a return to widespread indoor mask obligations later this month if current hospitalization trends continue. health Barbara Ferrer said this week.

Nationally, the latest COVID-19 surge has been caused by a highly contagious variant of BA.5, with its cousin BA.4 now accounting for an additional 16%, 65% of cases. Occupies. The variants show an amazing ability to circumvent the protection provided by vaccination.

As new Omicron variants have boosted hospitalization and death again in recent weeks, states and cities are rethinking their response, and the White House is stepping up efforts to warn the public.

Some experts said the warnings were too few, too late.

“Warnings could have been issued long ago,” said Dr. Eric Topol, head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, who called BA.5 “the worst variant ever.”

According to experts, the global trend of the two mutants has been apparent over the weeks, quickly defeating older mutants and pushing cases where they appear. Still, Americans took off their masks and returned to travel and social gatherings. And they almost ignored the booster shots that protect them from the worst consequences of COVID-19. The court blocked the federal mask and vaccine obligations and joined hands with US authorities.

“We need to learn a lot from how the virus works elsewhere and apply that knowledge here,” he said. health Chemometrics at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Dr. Ashishger, Coordinator of White House COVID-19, appeared on television Wednesday morning, calling for booster shots and new alerts.Still Mokudad said the federal government health Authorities need to push the mask indoors for early detection and prompt antiviral treatment.

“They aren’t doing everything they can,” Mokudad said.

The challenge for the government from the White House’s point of view is not their message, but the politicization of pandemic fatigue and viral reactions, which people are willing to hear.

The White House encourages Americans to take advantage of free or cheap home rapid tests to detect the virus and free and effective antiviral treatment Paxrovid to protect them from serious illness and death for months. I have done it. On Tuesday, the White House response team called on all adults over the age of 50 to urgently get a booster if it still doesn’t work this year. And it discouraged people from waiting to be able to roll up the next generation of shots expected in the fall. Get some protection on the sleeves and now.

Re-requesting the mask “helps reduce the risk,” Feller told the Los Angeles County supervisor. She is expected to discuss details of potential new county missions during a public health briefing on Thursday afternoon.

“I realize that for many people this will feel like a setback as we go back to Universal Indoor Masking to reduce high diffusion,” Feller said on Tuesday.

For most of the pandemics, Los Angeles County needed masks in some indoor spaces, such as medical facilities, subway trains and buses, airports, prisons, and homeless shelters. The new mission will extend the requirements to all indoor public spaces, including shared offices, manufacturing facilities, warehouses, retail stores, restaurants and bars, theaters and schools.

It is unclear what the enforcement will look like. Under past missions, authorities favored educating people rather than quoting or issuing fines.

Sharon Fayette stripped off the mask the moment he got off Lyft’s ride in Los Angeles on Wednesday and moaned when he was informed that another universal mask requirement might come. “Oh, when will it end?” She wondered about the pandemic.

Fayette is tired of the regulatory changes and suspects that most residents will carry out another mission. “I just think people go beyond that, they go beyond all the rules,” she said.

Barragan said he learned a tough lesson about the effectiveness of masks when he went uncovered in a movie industry mixer last month in Los Angeles. “We were all outdoors, so I thought it was okay,” said 35-year-old Barragan. A few days later he started to feel sick and was certainly positive.

He was so enthusiastic about masking that he avoided catching the virus for more than two years. “Once I took it off, I caught it!” He laughed.

The nationwide temporary decline in COVID deaths has reversed. Last month, the daily death toll was declining, but it wasn’t comparable to last year’s lows, and now the death toll is rising again.

The seven-day average of daily deaths in the United States has increased by 26% over the past two weeks to 489 on July 12.

Coronaviruses have not killed as many people as last fall and winter, and experts do not expect death to reach those levels again soon. But Andrew Neumer, a professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine, said the daily deaths of hundreds of people from respiratory illness in the summer would usually be staggering. He said 46 people died of COVID-19 in June in Orange County, California.

“It’s all going to be a hands-on deck,” Neumer said. “People will be like,’There is this crazy new flu that is killing people in June.'”

Instead, no simple and proven precautions have been taken. Vaccination, including booster shots for eligible individuals, reduces the risk of hospitalization and death, even for the latest variants. However, less than half of the targeted U.S. adults receive one booster shot, and only about one in four Americans over the age of 50 who are eligible for the second booster receive a booster shot. Hmm.

“This was a failed booster campaign,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, still using the term “complete vaccination” for people with two shots of Moderna or Pfizer. Said. “They don’t realize that the two shots are completely inadequate,” he said.

Neumer said he would level up with Americans to get their attention in the third year of the pandemic if he was in charge of the country’s COVID response. He takes it seriously to Americans, masks it indoors, and “kills more than 100,000 Americans a year and becomes a new normal state of life expectancy-affecting illness until a better vaccine is available. Would be. “

Neumer admitted that the message probably wouldn’t fly for political reasons.

You may also not fly with people who are tired of taking precautions after a pandemic of more than two years. Valerie Walker in New Hope, Pennsylvania is paying attention to the recent surge, but is less worried.

“I was definitely worried at the time,” she said in a nightly news broadcast about the early days of the pandemic, using images of body bags. “Now I’m tired, things get better, I have a vaccine, so on a scale from 1 to 10, I’m probably 4 years old.”

Even if two friends are currently infected with the virus and her husband has recently recovered, Walker says she has a bigger problem.

“When I think about it, I still wear a mask when I enter the store, but to be honest, it’s not a daily thought for me,” she said.

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Reported by Johnson, AP Medical Writer, Washington. Contributed by Associated Press writer Bobby Caina Calvan in New York and Zeke Miller in Washington.

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The Associated Press’s Department of Health Sciences is supported by the Science Education Department of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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