U.S. Surgeon General Backs Local Mask Mandates When Needed
Such local orders are consistent with federal guidelines that permit local authorities to require prevention measures
MONDAY, July 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., said Sunday that he supports reinstating local mask mandates when they are needed to curb the spread of COVID-19 among unvaccinated people.
"It's very reasonable for counties to take more mitigation measures like the mask rules you see coming out in L.A., and I anticipate that will happen in other parts of the country, too," Murthy said on the ABC News show "This Week."
Murthy said such local orders are consistent with federal guidelines that permit local authorities to require prevention measures, something that will likely be needed more often now as the highly contagious Delta variant rips through unvaccinated populations, The Washington Post reported.
In May, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated individuals could shed masks when gathering in indoor locations, but the guidelines also gave local officials flexibility to respond to new outbreaks, Murthy said. The Los Angeles County order reinstating mask requirements indoors applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. "That is not contradictory to the guidance the CDC has issued," Murthy said.
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Hilda Solis also told "This Week" that the new mandate is a response to new COVID-19 cases reaching 1,900 a day last week. "I'm not pleased that we have to go back to using the masks in this manner, but right now it's going to save lives and that's what's most important," Solis said.