California announced the reinstitution of an indoor mask mandate over a rise in Omicron variant cases of the coronavirus. The mandate would apply to everyone regardless of their vaccination status.
The mandate will commence on Wednesday, said health officials, and will remain in place until at least Jan. 15.
California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said that there has been a 47% rise in coronavirus cases since Thanksgiving, with statewide cases going from 9.5 in every 100,000 people to 14 in every 100,000.
“We know people are tired and hungry for normalcy. Frankly, I am too,” Ghaly said. “That said, this is a critical time where we have a tool that we know has worked and can work.”
The state is also increasing social distancing restrictions for those who travel to California and for unvaccinated people who attend indoor events hosting more than 1,000 individuals.
“As we look at the evidence that masks do make a difference, even a 10% increase in indoor masking can reduce case transmission significantly,” Ghaly explained.
Also on Monday, officials said that deaths from coronavirus nationwide had officially surpassed the 800,000 mark.
Health officials in California have previously reported that the Omicron variant appeared to have been present in wastewater samples before it was even identified by the World Health Organization as a variant.
“We know that there’s going to be people who don’t necessarily agree with this, who are tired, who aren’t going to mask,” Ghaly concluded. “We hope that those are few and far between, that most people see the purpose of doing this over the next month as something to protect them and their communities during a very tough time.”
Here’s more about the mandate in California:
CA reinstates indoor mask mandate for one month amid new COVID-19 increase l ABC7