California Citizens Get State’s Blessing To Start Unmasking Soon

Good news for most (but unfortunately not nearly all) residents of California: Officials will be lifting the state’s indoor mask mandate next week for those who are vaccinated.

California is on the opposite side of the omicron spike right now and the number of new infections is plummeting. On Monday afternoon, state health officials announced they’ll be ending the indoor mask mandate on February 15 (sorry to everybody with Valentine’s Day dates—be sure to smile with your eyes!) increase outdoor activities’ attendance.

Officials announced that they are rethinking the school masking requirements, meaning children might soon no longer need to mask up indoors.

Also, it’s worth noting that this announcement comes at the same time as California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles were photographed with London Breed, the San Francisco Mayor, at an Inglewood Rams playoff match without wearing masks.

Although it is great to rejoice the return of a level of normalcy in California, not everyone will be able to take part. The state order will not be lifted. The state’s order will not be lifted. Counties with their own mask mandates can continue to use them. The most populous county in California—Los Angeles County—has announced that it will not be lifting its mandate. The majority of other counties have agreed to lift the mandates on masks. However, the 10,000,000 people living within the boundaries of L.A. County and those coming into it will need to continue masking indoors. County officials can also calculate when they’ll allow people to unmask.

Kathryn Barger was the county supervisor and demanded the removal of the county’s concealing policy. Kathryn noted that they are not always followed or enforced. The public must be trusted to make informed decisions based upon their individual risks and situations.

This is exactly what occurred when Los Angeles County removed its mask mandate for the summer. Some folks took their masks off. Some people left their masks on for more comfort. In my grocery store, I was the only person not wearing a mask. My lack of a mask was never a problem. I also didn’t mind people continuing to wear their masks.

Holly Mitchell, supervisor of Holly Mitchell’s office disagrees and tells the Los Angeles TimesCOVID-19 Transmissions have a disproportionate impact on the daily workers that make up this backbone of the local economy. Their number is high in Black, brown, and Asian workers. They must be there every day to work and have contact with everyone every day.

Mitchell explained to TimesBecause masks reduce transmission, she supports the masking mandate. The claim that masks reduce transmission has been disproven by more and more research. This is the truth. TimesHer quote is followed up by a reference to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Monday, that claims all masks can reduce the risk of COVID-19 testing positive.

This is how it works Los Angeles TimesThese are the results of this study:

The odds of you being positive for N95 and KN95 in indoor public settings were 83% lower than those wearing surgical masks. By comparison, those wearing cloth masks have a 56% chance.

Although that is certainly the message the CDC was trying to convey to the public and media, it’s not the truth. There are reasonsJacob Sullum of UC Berkeley noted Monday that results from the study for those wearing cloth masks weren’t statistically significant. It is impossible to say if the transmission rates of surgical and KN95-mask wearers were lower because of the method used in the study.

The definition of “Following science” is actually paying close attention to the scientific findings. But here, the TimesIt is repeating an inaccurate interpretation by a government agency of science. This is not the same as saying “It’s different.”