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Tipsheet

Los Angeles County JUST Ended Its Outdoor Mask Mandate

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Wednesday morning, Los Angeles County lifted its outdoor mask mandate, according to a report from a local ABC News affiliate. The report mentions that this coincides with the lifting of an indoor mask mandate for those who are fully vaccinated at the state level, though LA County will still require fully vaccinated people to wear masks indoors. This also coincides with the Rams victory party to celebrate their Super Bowl win. 

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Twitter reacted with surprise that there was even an outdoor mask mandate to begin with, which applies to K-12 schools, child care centers, and outdoor mega-events. 

Such news comes soon after the Super Bowl took place on Sunday at the indoor-outdoor SoFi Stadium, where the victorious Los Angeles Rams play. As Leah highlighted on Monday, numerous celebrities were caught maskless, including but certainly not limited to Mayor Eric Garcetti. This is not the first time he's been caught without a mask, and his previous excuse for not wearing one was that he was holding his breath to pose for a picture with former NBA Laker Magic Johnson, who is HIV positive. 

Many took to Twitter to remind that while celebrities flaunted the mask mandate, children were still required to attend school in masks the following morning. 

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At the time of the Super Bowl, the mask mandate was still in place. "Lax adherence to the mask requirement at SoFi Stadium was an issue throughout the recently concluded NFL season, however, the county insisted that the rule remain in place amid elevated COVID virus-related hospitalizations," the ABC report mentioned. 

Guy highlighted earlier today that Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who referenced the flagrant disregard for rules at the Super Bowl, now notes, "I believe we are beginning to lose the trust of the people."

Monday night coverage from The Washington Post mentioned, as Guy also touched upon, that "California will keep its mask mandate for schools in place until at least the end of the month." 

In a piece last April from the BMJ debating "Should masks be worn outdoors?", those arguing against pointed out that "less than 10% of reported covid-19 cases involve outdoor transmission, and those are typically associated with prolonged close interactions or settings where people mix both indoors and outdoors" and referred to "regular mask use outdoors" as having "limited benefits." 

Not only are there "limited benefits," but there may be high costs: 

Social isolation significantly contributes to morbidity and early mortality and has greater importance for health and wellbeing than is often perceived. Pandemic restrictions have already limited social connections, reducing morale, and an outdoor mask requirement might serve as a disincentive to be outdoors, which could worsen social isolation. It might also result in some people gathering indoors or refraining from exercise, a crucial component of mental and physical health. Therefore, focusing energy on preventing the vast majority of infections that occur indoors, while allowing the outdoors to be a place where people’s energy is recharged through fresh air, physical activity, and social connection, would pay great dividends from a public health perspective.

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Even those arguing in favor of wearing masks outdoors acknowledged that the "likelihood of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is far greater indoors than outdoors" and they emphasized, "We are not arguing that outdoor transmission represents a large transmission risk."

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