New COVID Case Rates Slow as Mask Mandates Take Effect

We are doing something right; Los Angeles County’s testing positivity rate is falling, and daily reports of new cases aren’t rising as fast as they did in two weeks ago. While vaccinations are also increase, public health officials credit masks as a central part of the virus  prevention. For three straight weeks, the county has also seen an uptick in vaccinations as unvaccinated residents make up the vast majority of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. There were more than 81,000 first doses administered in the week ending Aug. 1.

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the county’s current rate of new cases is 21.1 per 100,000 residents, which is a drop from 24 per 100,000 last week. The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus is 4.73%, down a full percentage point from last week.

“Although today’s rate will likely change somewhat over the coming days as additional test results are reported, this does suggest to us that our rise in cases may be leveling out,” Ferrer said.

Is the drop in numbers about people deciding to d the right thing, or being forced into doing the right thing? 

According to Patch, it may be more than concern about the Delta variant prompting holdouts to get vaccinated. Government agencies, employers and businesses are rapidly adopting vaccine mandates ( see the story below about Culver City’s requirements for employees.) On Wednesday the county mandated vaccines for its 110,000 employees. On Thursday, the Department of Public Health issued a new mandate requiring all healthcare workers to get the vaccine, officially eliminating weekly testing as an alternative to getting the shots. As early as next week, the Los Angeles City Council will consider the nation’s most draconian vaccine measurement, requiring proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, gyms, theaters and most retail establishments. At this point, vaccine holdouts risk becoming infected during the surge only to face vaccine mandates not far down the road.

Ferrer said that on Aug. 1, the county had seen a 22% week-over-week increase in new cases — while the increase in the rest of the state was 57%, a sign Los Angeles County — which implemented a mandatory indoor mask-wearing mandate in mid-July — is now seeing slower transmission of the virus.She also said it was too early to say if the mask requirement is responsible for the county’s improvement, “but I know for sure it contributed.”

Ferrer again highlighted the danger of the virus to unvaccinated residents, noting that from May 1 to July 17, people who haven’t been vaccinated were nearly four times more likely to be infected with COVID than vaccinated residents. Of the 3,158 people who were hospitalized in the county during that time period, only 8% were fully vaccinated.

“The hospitalization rate is rapidly increasing among unvaccinated people, while it remains extremely low among vaccinated people,” Ferrer said. “The risk of hospitalization is 19 times higher in L.A. County among people not fully vaccinated than it is among fully vaccinated people.”

Mask up – worn correctly, the mask covers both mouth and nose completely. Wash those hands again. And if you have not yet been vaccinated, getting the shot will save lives; not just your own, but also the people around you. Remember, children of grade school age and younger are not able to be vaccinated yet, and are completely dependent on the immunity of the adults around them. That could be as causal as sharing a sidewalk with someone. 

Unvaccinated people are 25 times more likely to become infected, be hospitalized, and die. While the national news is full of stories of people whose last words were the regret that they did not get the vaccine, that does not have to be local news. California is doing better than most states, and LA County is doing better than other parts of California. 

Mask up. 

The Actors' Gang

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