World

The return of mask mandate mania

3 August 2021

7:17 AM

3 August 2021

7:17 AM

Masks and COVID tests are here to stay for kids returning to school in LA.

On Thursday, the Los Angeles School District announced it would require all students and employees returning for in-person instruction to wear a mask while on the premises and participate in weekly COVID testing. These terms will apply to vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals alike.

At the height of the pandemic, Los Angeles County had the highest concentration of COVID deaths and hospitalizations in the state despite strict mask mandates. At the time of writing, Gov. Gavin Newsom has not reissued these requirements despite new worry from the CDC over the Delta variant. His recall election is just weeks away, and a recent poll indicates the race is tightening.

‘As part of our efforts to maintain the safest possible environment for students and employees, we are closely monitoring evolving health conditions and adapting our response in preparation for our full return to in-person learning on August 16,’ interim superintendent Megan K. Reilly said in an email, according to CBS Los Angeles.


‘All students and employees, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, returning for in-person instruction must participate in baseline and ongoing weekly COVID testing,’ she added. ‘This is in accordance with the most recent guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Baseline testing begins on Monday, August 2.’

According to Reilly, the district will enforce social distancing and implement sanitization efforts while collaborating with local health agencies to ensure more vaccinations. While some LA parents were thrilled with new measures, one former LA parent has doubts.

‘It’s sheer insanity. Thank God, children are by and large not severely harmed by COVID; fewer than 350 children under age 18, many with serious pre-existing conditions, have died of COVID in the US out of a cohort of 73+ million,’ conservative commentator and former Los Angeles resident Ben Shapiro told Cockburn. ‘This means that we are now restricting children in order to protect adults who have all had the option to get the vaccine for months. Weekly COVID testing accomplishes nearly nothing, since COVID results can change day-to-day.’

On Sunday, LA saw 3,045 new cases and only five recent deaths in a county with a total population of over 10 million residents. The seven-day daily testing average rose to 66,378.

As the virus ripped through the Golden State, resulting in 65,000 deaths and four million confirmed cases, other states such Texas and Florida weathered the hardships of the pandemic with fewer mandates. In March, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas issued an executive order that lifted the mask mandate and increased the capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100 percent. At the time, Newsom said the decision was ‘absolutely reckless’ — then he removed California’s mask mandate for vaccinated individuals on June 15. During the pandemic, Newsom was caught breaking his own restrictions by dining maskless indoors at the French Laundry restaurant. The scandal accelerated the recall effort to remove him from office.

Texas came through the pandemic with a million fewer cases than California and half the number of deaths. Florida, which is known for its lax restrictions, had 25,000 fewer deaths under DeSantis.

But in LA, masks and COVID tests remain the norm. Ten minutes from LAX, Loyola Marymount University will require all students to be fully vaccinated to receive in-person instruction this fall. A campus-wide mask mandate will be in effect, while students who received medical or religious exemptions will be segregated into their own housing.

Cities such as Washington DC renewed their mask mandates last week, following new guidance from the CDC. Less than 24 hours after the new rules came into effect, the city’s mayor Muriel Bowser, was caught flouting them. The Washington Examiner’s Tiana Lowe published photos that showed Bowser officiating a wedding without a mask while sitting with hundreds of other guests. But of course, you still have to wear one…

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