Los Angeles County is poised to reinstate indoor mask mandates if a recent surge in COVID-19 cases continues, county public health director Barbara Ferrer said Thursday.
The average of new cases for L.A., the most populous county in the United States, rose 180 percent since November 1, bringing it to about 2,700 cases per day. Hospitalizations rose to a 192 daily average for the county of more than nine million residents. These numbers move the county's COVID-19 activity level to "medium," as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ferrer fears the city is on track to reach a "high" level by next week, which would trigger a mask mandate.
Wearing masks, particularly cloth masks, has little effect on the spread of COVID-19, studies show. Nearly half of parents, meanwhile, say forcing children to wear masks at school has hurt their educational, relational, and mental development, a poll found earlier this year.
Ferrer nevertheless said that masking, along with "being up to date on vaccines and boosters," are "common-sense mitigation strategies."
"There is this common line of thinking that the pandemic is over and COVID is no longer of concern, but these numbers clearly demonstrate that COVID is still with us," Ferrer said.
No county in the United States mandates masking at this time.