People wearing face shields walk on Hollywood Blvd during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Los Angeles, California, United States, March 29, 2021.
Mario Anzuoni | Reuters
From Los Angeles to Massachusetts, local authorities across the country are begging Americans to wear masks indoors again as Delta variant tears apart in the United States
Several counties in California and Nevada are now advising all residents to wear masks in indoor public places, whether or not they are vaccinated. Local leaders in at least three other states have reinstated mask warrants, issued recommendations for facial coverage, or threatened the return of strict public health limits for all residents in defiance of federal health guidelines that say those vaccinated do not do not have to follow these protocols in most contexts.
“An increase in the number of cases was not unexpected as the community began to reopen completely,” Southern Nevada Health District spokesperson Jennifer Sizemore told CNBC. Home to Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada tightened its mask recommendation last week after Covid-19 cases and deaths rose 50% from the previous week. A total of 4,599 new infections were reported last week along with 33 coronavirus-related deaths, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
After months of declining cases, Covid infections are on the rise again in the United States New cases have jumped 55% since last week to an average of 37,000 new cases per day in the past seven days , according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
On May 13, the CDC relaxed its Covid guidelines on masks for fully vaccinated people, saying they did not need to use them or practice social distancing in most settings. CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky told lawmakers at a Senate hearing on Tuesday that the agency is actively reviewing his mask and other public health guidelines as the virus and pandemic evolve, from especially as scientists learn more about the delta variant and how vaccines resist.
“A lot has changed since May 13,” Walensky said. “We now have a variant circulating in this country which at the time was 3% (of new cases) and is now at 83% and much more transmissible.”
The delta variant is spreading across the country, especially in areas with low vaccination rates, she said. Almost two-thirds of counties in the United States have vaccinated less than 40% of their residents, “allowing the emergence and rapid spread of the highly transmissible delta variant”, and this is leading to increased hospitalizations and deaths, a- she declared.
This is starting to show in Nevada, which has only fully vaccinated 43.5% of its population, according to CDC data. Clark County recorded 641 new hospitalizations for Covid last week, 23% more admissions than in the previous seven days. Despite the resurgence of the epidemic in the Las Vegas area, Sizemore said the county’s vaccination rate had hovered just under 42% in the past two weeks.
“However, the community’s immunization rate has slowed and unvaccinated people are not taking recommended precautions, including wearing masks and pursuing social distancing,” Sizemore said.
Nevada isn’t the only state to strengthen its mask guidelines. Seven counties in the Bay Area of California recommended the use of masks indoors on Friday, stopping before a full term. The city of Berkeley, Calif., Has also called for continued use of masks.
Further south, Los Angeles County reinstated its mask mandate for indoor public places on Saturday. The county initially eliminated the warrant on Thursday, when the state formally rolled back a series of executive measures designed to mitigate the spread of Covid.
White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci said Los Angeles County’s new mask warrant could serve as a prototype for other regions that have high infection rates. He said he expected schools and businesses to continue enforcing their own mask guidelines to protect against the delta variant.
“If you want to go the extra mile with safety even though you are vaccinated, when you are indoors, especially in crowded places, you may want to consider wearing a mask,” Fauci said in a statement. interview with CNBC’s “Closing Bell”. Wednesday.
In Massachusetts, Provincetown officials on Monday advised all individuals to resume wearing masks indoors after the July 4 celebrations led to an outbreak of new cases.
In the parish of Orleans, Louisiana, where the CDC reported 560 new cases of coronavirus last week, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Wednesday authorized an indoor mask advisory to limit the spread of the delta variant. And New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy told CNBC’s Squawk Box on Tuesday that he wanted to avoid reinstating a mask warrant, pushing residents to get vaccinated instead.
“Right now, I hope we don’t have to do this,” Murphy said. “If necessary, we will.”
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