Los Angeles, San Diego Sound Different Tones on the Delta Variant

Los Angeles County health officials issued a strong recommendation for mask-use in public indoor spaces on Monday, regardless of whether or not the wearer is vaccinated. The advice follows concerns about the rapidly growing number of Delta variant cases in California.

LADPH now “strongly” urges the public to use face coverings “in settings such as grocery or retail stores; theaters and family entertainment centers, and workplaces when you don't know everyone's vaccination status.”

"Until we better understand how and to who the Delta variant is spreading, everyone should focus on maximum protection with minimum interruption to routine as all businesses operate without other restrictions, like physical distancing and capacity limits," LADPH advised.

LA County has confirmed 123 cases of the Delta variant thus far. Of those, 110 were unvaccinated and three were only partially vaccinated. The Delta variant, which originated in India, is now the third most common in the state. It is believed to be much more contagious than earlier strains.

Not all counties seem as concerned as LA. San Diego leaders said Tuesday that they don’t expect changes to the local mask guidance, even as Delta cases grow.

“We continue to monitor the situation with COVID-19 and in particular the delta variant and want to emphasize the single best action you can take to protect yourself and your family is to be fully vaccinated,” Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher said in a statement. “We will continue to align our public health guidance with CDC and CDPH and do not anticipate any changes,” he added, noting that 95% of the new cases are affecting unvaccinated individuals.

The US Centers for Disease Control continues to state that vaccinated people do not need to wear masks in most indoor settings. However, the World Health Organization is now also recommending face coverings for vaccinated individuals to protect against the Delta variant’s spread.