Could the Bay Area reinstate a mask mandate?

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – As Los Angeles County orders a new indoor mask mandate, even for those fully vaccinated, many are wondering if the Bay Area will follow.

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong says the move out of LA doesn’t surprise him. They’re seeing numbers that they haven’t seen in months, however, he says the mandate seems to be an emotional response and he’s not ruling it out for any of our Bay Area counties. 

“Because there’s uncertainty with Delta and with a relatively lower vaccination in Southern California compared to Northern California it is actually not surprising that the public health and political leaders there would enact such a mandate,” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong said.

On Thursday, Los Angeles County reinstated its indoor mask mandate now raising questions on what this may mean for the Bay Area.

Infectious disease expert, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong says while Los Angeles County has higher cases and lower vaccination rates than the Bay Area counties.

Its numbers could have a future impact on our mask mandates.

“I’m a little concerned for the Bay Area as a whole because when you look at where the hot spots are now in the state it’s actually above us in the Sacramento area and below us in the LA area so you have the top and the bottom and I feel like we’re being encroached because again people are moving freely and just because we have a high vaccination rate doesn’t make us completely immune from what’s happening around us,” Dr. Chin-Hong said.

Instead of a widespread mask mandate, Dr. Chin-Hong says we could see county by county decide to follow LA’s footsteps, specifically for those with higher cases and lower vaccination rates, like Solano County for example.

Meanwhile, San Francisco’s COVID case rates and vaccinations have been some of the best.

As of Tuesday, 83% of those eligible have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 76% of those eligible are fully vaccinated. 

Still, forward-looking data through this week projects case rates will rise to 73 cases per day, a seven-fold increase from mid-June.

“It’s anybody’s guess whether or not San Francisco and other counties around it will enact these mask mandates. Again is hospitalizations and deaths remain low it will be more of an emotional response or a call for people to get vaccinated,” Dr. Chin-Hong said.

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong says the recent rise in cases doesn’t mean that vaccines aren’t working but rather it reveals that many Californians still aren’t vaccinated. 

He says this is the group at the largest risk of the Delta variant which is now making its way through the Bay Area.

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