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L.A. County coronavirus spike hits alarming levels, with 10,000 infected in a week, as Delta variant spreads

Los Angeles County is now recording more than 10,000 coronavirus cases a week — a pace not seen since March — an alarming sign of the dangers the Delta variant poses to people who have not been vaccinated and heightening pressure on health officials to reverse the trend.

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.

It’s still far fewer than during the deadly winter surge, when L.A. County was recording more than 1,000 weekly cases for every 100,000 residents, but it underscores growing concerns that unvaccinated people are at heightened risk.

he rise here and elsewhere is the reason why 11 counties — home to more than half of Californians — are urging all residents regardless of vaccination status to wear masks in indoor public settings. So far, L.A. County is the only county to make it a requirement, while much of the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as Sacramento, Fresno and Yolo counties, have made the plea a recommendation.

The primary rationale for a mandatory mask policy in indoor public settings is to get unvaccinated people to start wearing their masks again, reducing the risk of disease transmission until new infections decline.

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.

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