San Francisco Bay Area health officials announced indoor mask wearing recommendations for all residents, including the vaccinated, as the Indian Delta variant threatens to halt progress against the coronavirus.
The joint announcement Friday by health officials from eight counties in California's Bay Area came a day before health officials in Los Angeles put in place an indoor mask mandate to stem the spread of the highly contagious variant, and one month after progress against the disease prompted California Gov. Gavin Newsom to reopen the state's economy.
The spread of the highly contagious strain, which originated in India, has already pushed new infections up to 26,306 nationwide, an increase of 69.3 percent on a seven-day moving average compared to one week earlier.
Nearly every state witnessed a rise in infections in the last week and CDC data shows the Delta variant is responsible for about 60 percent of these cases.
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San Francisco Bay Area health officials announced indoor mask wearing recommendations for all residents, including the vaccinated, as the Indian Delta variant threatens to halt progress against the coronavirus. Pictured is masked people in LA which has already brought its mandate back
The Bay Area mask recommendation came as infections have spiked nationwide, driven primarily by the spread of the highly contagious Indian delta variant
Despite some of the highest vaccination rates in the country, the area around San Francisco is still seeing a spike in infections
Health officials in the Bay Area say the new infections have been spreading primarily among its unvaccinated population
In California, cases of the delta variant made up 48.8% of all new cases recorded in the state in June, compared to just 6% in May.
The Bay Area health officials said the recommendation was made 'out of an abundance of caution' as an 'added layer of protection for unvaccinated residents.'
Unvaccinated people are of particular risk to contracting the delta variant, health experts say, as CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned that the current outbreak is becoming 'a pandemic of the unvaccinated' as most cases, hospitalizations and deaths are among people yet to take the shot while the nation's vaccination rollout has stalled.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
'The Delta variant is spreading quickly, and everyone should take action to protect themselves and others against this potentially deadly virus,' Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said.
Both deaths and infections have spiked across the country as fears mount that the new variant could halt progress against the virus
The recommendations come just one month after California dropped its coronavirus restrictions. Patrons in San Francisco can be seen indoor maskless on June 15
'The highly infectious Delta variant is now the predominant strain in Contra Costa County,' Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said. 'While vaccines remain our best tool against COVID-19, masking in indoor and crowded outdoor settings will help us curb the spread of this latest wave of infection.'
Perhaps most concerning is the spread of cases despite high vaccination rates in the Bay Area.
In San Francisco, for instance, 83% of its residents over 12 have received at least one dose of the vaccine with 76% of its population over 12 fully vaccinated.
Still, cases are on the rise, with a seven-day rolling average of 58 new cases recorded a day last week compared to a low of 10 in mid June.
The new cases come as the country's vaccination effort has stalled
'Unfortunately, even though we have very high rates of vaccination and the excellent protection that affords, we are still seeing our case rates rise,' Santa Clara County Assistant Health Officer Dr. Sarah Rudman told CBS SF Bay Area.
She said the variant had become a particular problem among the county's unvaccinated population, and that recommending everyone wear masks was to ensure the unvaccinated continue wearing masks.
Similar concerns have risen elsewhere in the country, with the delta variant projected to make up every new case in New York City by next month, and as America looks to the United Kingdom, which is several weeks ahead in its battle against the Delta variant and is grappling with daily infections doubling within the space of a week.
Based on the rate with which the strain became dominant in the UK, then made up 100 percent of cases and set off a