Few of us will forget the sense of euphoria we felt after receiving the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (or the only dose, for those who received the one-shot vaccine). It felt like a gateway back to the things we all once took for granted, like dining with friends in restaurants, birthday parties and hugs. Perhaps most importantly, vaccination status became a symbol of freedom from masks, as mask mandates were triumphantly lifted across the U.S. and businesses posted signs saying fully vaccinated people were welcome to enter mask free.

But as each day brings worse news about the spread of the delta variant, many of us have been asking the obvious question: Should we still be wearing masks indoors in public? According to the World Health Organization, as of late June, the answer is yes. Then in mid-July, Los Angeles County reinstated its requirement for masks in public for all residents, regardless of vaccination status. But the CDC has so far not followed suit.

Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease physician at the University of California, San Francisco, puts these seemingly contradictory positions into perspective. He notes how rare breakthrough cases are and dissects the latest research on how well vaccination protects against the delta variant – as well as what the findings might mean in different regions around the country.

Also today:

Amanda Mascarelli

Science Editor

Masking indoors will yet again be the new normal in Los Angeles County – and possibly elsewhere in the U.S. Lourdes Balduque/ Moment via Getty Images

Should fully immunized people wear masks indoors? An infectious disease physician weighs in

Peter Chin-Hong, University of California, San Francisco

As Los Angeles County again mandates masking indoors -- even for the fully vaccinated -- local health officials in the U.S. are closely eyeing their own COVID-19 vaccination and infection rates.



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