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Los Angeles County urges masks indoors as Delta variants spreads

LA County urges masks as Delta variant spreads
Los Angeles County urges mask-wearing indoors as Delta variant spreads 02:21

Los Angeles County officials want everyone, including those fully vaccinated against COVID-19, to keep wearing masks indoors as the Delta variant spreads. Public health officials said the Delta variant, first detected in India, recently comprised nearly half of all variants found locally, according to CBS Los Angeles

Health officials urged people to wear masks in places such as grocery stores, retail spaces, movie theaters and other indoor places where vaccination statuses are unknown. 

"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," the Los Angeles Department of Public Health said in a statement Monday. 

Nearly 70% of Los Angeles County residents 16 and older have been at least partially vaccinated. Of the more than 400,000 coronavirus cases reported in the county since December, nearly every one occurred among the unvaccinated. The same is true for COVID-related deaths. 

"This is a pandemic of unvaccinated people," said Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County's public health director. 

The Delta variant comprises 95% of all new cases in the United Kingdom and is prompting new lockdowns in Asia and Australia. In the U.S., it's in all 50 states. 

Why is the Delta variant more dangerous? "It could be that it's better at actually attaching to a human cell and entering it," said CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook. 

"I am concerned that that over time, the more chance you have this virus to mutate, the more chance it has of mutating into a form that can wreak more havoc," he said. "You worry that over time, the immunity that we've developed, either because of previous infection with COVID or because of vaccination, is going to wane as the virus continues to evolve." 

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