Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

LA County Not Ready to Let Us Take Off Our Masks: Vaccinated People and Unvaccinated Alike Must Continue to Wear Masks Inside Businesses and in Crowds

LACDPH passes the buck to the state's CAL/OSHA: They're supposed to be the bad (or good) guy

May 14, 2021 - On Thursday the Centers for Disease Control changed their guidelines regarding the wearing of masks for vaccinated people. As of yesterday, the nation's top disease authority announced that they believed it safe for people who are fully vaccinated to dispense with masks in all situations, indoors and outdoors, crowded or not.

Los Angeles County's Department of Public Health is not ready to go along with these new guidelines, a situation that would allow vaccinated individuals to go back to normal life. "L.A. County and the state will review the recommendations in order to make sensible adjustments," their press release reads. The implication is that the CDC is not being "sensible."

"When at businesses and in crowded venues, both indoors and outdoors, masks are still required to be worn by everyone," LACDPH warns us in the release. In addition, "Everyone must continue to adhere to required distancing and masking at all workplaces."

In case members of the public are puzzled or even angered by LACDPH's resistance to the new federal guidelines, the department passes the blame to California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health. "Until Cal/OSHA changes these requirements, the County cannot be less restrictive." But the department soothes us with the news that CAL/OSHA's standards boards meets next week. By then, presumably, the state will give the county their stamp of approval for the change. Or not.

To date, roughly 12% of the county's population has already contracted Covid-19, that we know of. 24,057 residents have perished from the disease, according to county records. Overall, 52% of the population has received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, with 68% of seniors fully protected. While this might not seem like enough people with immunity to let down our guard, the number of new Covid cases reaches an all-time low every day. Yesterday, the number of new cases was 284 with only 17 deaths.

The real number at issue, however, is the efficacy of the vaccine for the fully vaccinated. If the CDC is correct (admittedly, an iffy proposition), then there is virtually no danger to them in resuming normal life, which could include gathering in crowds and not wearing masks. In addition, vaccinated people do not spread the disease to others in any significant way, so for them to dispense with masks does not harm the public at large.

We await the state and county's interpretation of a "sensible" interpretation of this data.


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