All but one Bay Area county is recommending masking up indoors as COVID cases continue to spike locally and across the nation due to the highly contagious delta variant.
Solano County is sticking to a policy following state guidelines: no masks outdoors for anyone and none indoors for the fully vaccinated, with some exceptions, such as healthcare settings.
"The cases have been occurring over the last two weeks because of July 4 behavior -- barbecues, gatherings in people's backyards," Solano County Public Health Officer Dr. Bela Matyas said. "So a masking mandate for indoors for shopping, retail and restaurants is not going to make any difference. That's not where it's being transmitted. It's being transmitted in people's homes."
Meanwhile, Napa County on Monday joined the other seven Bay Area counties in strongly recommending masking when in indoor public settings to slow the spread of the delta variant. The next step could be the return of a mask mandate.
Los Angeles County is already mandating masking after a surge in cases in Southern California.
UCSF's Dr. George Rutherford does not see the Bay Area going that far, though he sees value in masking.
Rutherford said masks help slow transmission among those unvaccinated and limit the spillover of breakthrough cases of those unvaccinated.
But on the horizon comes COVID's next curveball -- the lambda variant, designated as a "variant of interest" by the World Health Organization last month.
Rutherford points out that when the vaccines receive full FDA approval as expected this summer, that will open the door for mandatory vaccinations for businesses, universities and the military.