The World Health Organization recently issued a recommendation urging vaccinated people to continue to wear a face covering amid the spread of the highly infections Delta variant.
Shortly after, Los Angeles County in Southern California urged even vaccinated residents to wear a mask indoors to avoid the spread of the variant. Will Bay Area officials follow suit and reimpose the mask mandate, too?
In Santa Clara County, some shoppers have decided to keep their face covering on and said they're concerned about the hyper-infections variant.
"I am vaccinated. I wear a mask as much as possible when I go out in public and even when I walk in the mornings," said San Jose resident Hae Young Lee. "I don’t want to get Delta."
At the moment, there are a total of 59 cases of the Delta variant in Santa Clara County.
The county said its tracking the variant, but its not currently reimposing a community-wide mask requirement. At a state level, leaders are still not recommending vaccinated people to wear masks indoors.
The Delta variant is much more transmissible than other variants and we're seeing a 60% increase in susceptible populations," said Stanford Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Catherine Blish.
State health leaders, for now, remain focused on vaccinations.
In a statement, California's public health director Dr. Tomas Aragon said the variant
accounts for approximately 23% of cases sampled in California. "We anticipate this percentage will increase," he said. "The most important thing we can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 is ensure everyone who is eligible gets vaccinated."
Dr. Blish agrees vaccinations are the best defense, but she also said there are certain situations where even vaccinated people should consider wearing a mask.
"I think if you’re congregating in large groups with vaccinated and unvaccinated people mixing it’s probably a good idea to still wear a mask," she said.
In California, there are at least 327 analyzed cases of the Delta variant. However, the state has said the real number is likely higher since not all cases are tested for variant type.