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ABC7: Los Angeles County Likely to Resume Mask Mandate—But Will That Limit COVID Spread?

ABC7 recently interviewed Cedars-Sinai hospitalist Nicole J. Van Groningen, MD, about the benefits of wearing a mask as COVID-19 cases continued to climb last month, prompting Los Angeles County public health officials to consider reinstating the mask mandate.  

Cases rose in late July as the new BA.5 variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 circulated throughout the community. The new, highly transmissible variant even can infect those who have already recovered from COVID-19 in recent months. As L.A. County public health officials warned that a mask mandate might be imminent, Van Groningen told ABC7 that such measures are only effective if people take them seriously.

“So, to the question of ‘Do mask mandates work?’ The answer is yes, but with an asterisk. And that asterisk is to the extent that people follow them,” Van Groningen told ABC7.  

Wearing a mask can block 80% of particles that spread through coughing, sneezing and speaking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But Van Groningen told ABC7 that peer-reviewed studies have shown wearing a mask only can prevent the spread of COVID-19 if everyone wears masks.

"I view it as it's no skin off my nose, but it's really going to help someone who may be immunocompromised, who is shopping next to me in the grocery store, and who COVID would impact much more significantly," Van Groningen told ABC7.  

As of July 28, the mask mandate was not set to be reinstated due to a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. 

Click here to read the complete article from ABC7.