LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County health officials have reinstated a requirement that everyone wear masks while indoors in public settings, starting this Saturday.
The order was made as the county sees a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases among the unvaccinated, exceeding 1,000 new cases per day for at least six days in a row.
The mask order applies even to those who have been vaccinated. And that has set up some criticisms and questions from those who say vaccinated people should not have to wear masks.
But Dr. Anthony Cardillo, CEO of Mend Urgent Care, explained to ABC7 why requiring vaccinated people to also wear masks is important as the Delta variant continues to rapidly spread.
Basically, he said, it's to stop even stricter COVID protocols from being necessary.
"The mask mandate is really to offset the possibility of going back into a lockdown status," Cardillo said.
Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine makes a person less likely to develop any symptoms if exposed to the virus, he said, but it doesn't necessarily prevent that person from transmitting coronavirus to an unvaccinated individual.
"The reality is once you're vaccinated, it prevents you from getting severely ill," Cardillo said. " ... It doesn't really help with transmission. It decreases the viral load in your system. But the real way to decrease transmission is to wear a mask."
Cardillo, who has been vaccinated, wears a mask in public settings so that he doesn't transmit the virus to those around him who have not been vaccinated, such as his young children or his patients.
In fact, on a recent JetBlue flight to Florida, Cardillo went so far as to wear a full respirator hood around his head, the same device he wears in the emergency room. JetBlue eventually asked him to remove the hood and replace it with a standard mask.
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As case rates once again rise in Los Angeles, Cardillo and other health officials are reminding the public how important it is to get vaccinated.
"Every one of us had to make that really difficult decision: Do I get vaccinated or not? Weighing the pros and cons, the risk versus the benefits."
"It's really important for all of us to continue that process. And understanding that, number one, the vaccines are not showing any ill effects on a very large level. And number two, they're showing dramatic, dramatic decline in case rates."