Probably Time To Get Your Masks Out Again, Yes Even If You're Vaccinated
Thornton can't believe humans are so dumb.

The spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus is getting bad, kids. It's so bad in the Los Angeles area that LA County has reimposed its mask mandate for indoor spaces, and 11 other counties in California, including much of the Bay Area, are "urging all residents regardless of vaccination status to wear masks in indoor public settings."

LA County is currently seeing 10,000 positive coronavirus tests a week, which is as bad as it's been since March of this year, reports the LA Times:

A Los Angeles Times data analysis found L.A. County was recording 101 weekly coronavirus cases for every 100,000 residents, up from 12 for the seven-day period that ended June 15. That means the county has surpassed the threshold to have "high" community transmission of the disease, the worst tier as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A region must hit 100 or more weekly cases per 100,000 residents to enter the worst tier.

That's not as bad as the height of the winter surge in COVID-19, but it's plenty bad, and indicates the Delta variant is doing what it does: spreading more effectively than the earlier variants of the virus.

The mask recommendation is aimed at getting everyone masked up again, even though fully vaccinated people are generally protected against serious illness, hospitalization, or death, even with the Delta variant. (Transmission is still possible, as we saw with the six members of the Texas state House who fled to DC, but they're all only experiencing mild symptoms. The risk of such "breakthrough infections" is believed low for fully vaccinated people, as is their risk of transmitting the virus. Masking is a good way to further reduce that risk.)

Problem is, the CDC's recommendation in May that fully vaccinated people can go maskless led most unvaccinated people to decide they didn't need to wear masks anymore either, which was entirely predictable and we predicted it. So now, it's everybody please mask up, in hopes of once more containing the spread of the virus by unvaccinated people.

Officials believe many unvaccinated people stopped wearing masks at the same time vaccinated people did so, even though uninoculated people are still under orders to continue wearing face coverings. Of new coronavirus cases in L.A. County over a recent six-month period, 99.6% involved people who have not been vaccinated.

The LA Times also notes that hospitalizations for COVID-19 have "doubled in the last three weeks, from 255 on June 28 to 528 on Saturday — a number not seen since April." Some health experts say that hospitalization rate, more than 5 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, may also trigger stricter mask regulations.

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said this week that he thought LA County's new mask order was reasonable, and that "I anticipate that will happen in other parts of the country, too." At least if public health officials have a lick of sense and haven't been fired like in Tennessee for fuckssake, we would add.

The number of cases is also rising nationwide, almost entirely among the unvaccinated. Keep in mind, before you say "good, serves 'em right!" that many people can't be vaccinated because they're inmmunocompromised or because they aren't yet old enough to be vaccinated. And yes, our comments policy remains in effect, you filthy fuckaducks.

Depending on the vaccination rate in your area, you may want to start wearing a mask again when you're in indoor public areas like stores, if you ever let up. I know in Idaho I'm going to start masking up again, My county's vaccination rate is better than much of Idaho's, but just 48 percent are fully vaccinated. You can check US vaccination rates by county at the New York Times; we think that's not paywalled. UPDATE, 7/28/21: Oh look, the CDC has a county-by-county map, free for nothing! The CDC has not yet now updated its recommendations for masking, but if the Delta variant continues to surge among the unvaccinated, we wouldn't be surprised if that changes as well.

[LAT / Vox / NYT Vaccination tracker]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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