Masks are back in Santa Clara County. Officials today announced that as of Tuesday, August 3, all individuals in the county — whether vaccinated or unvaccinated — will be required to wear face coverings when indoors in public places.
The available vaccinations against COVID-19 have proven effective at curbing the spread of disease and preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death, but the new Delta variant of COVID has led to a rash of new infections, largely among unvaccinated people.
To date, 84% of Santa Clara County residents age 12 and above have received at least one vaccine dose, and 78% of such residents are fully vaccinated. Still, given Delta, the County is now logging an average of 227 new COVID cases every seven days.
The vaccines have been shown to provide strong protection against the Delta variant, but even vaccinated people can transmit it easily, and the variant is notorious for its rapid rate of spread. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Delta variant is more transmissible than the flu, the common cold, Ebola, MERS and SARS, and smallpox — and as transmissible as chickenpox.
According to Deputy Health Officer for the County of Santa Clara Dr. George Han, “We need the added protection of masks back into our lives until everyone is able to be vaccinated, especially children.”
Said a County news release today, in explaining the new mask order, “Indoor settings, whether public or private, are higher risk for COVID-19 transmission, especially when you are with people you do not live with. Health officials also recommend that all employers make face coverings available to individuals entering their businesses, and businesses are required to implement the indoor face covering order.”