Orange County Officials No Longer Require Masks During Coronavirus Pandemic
Voice of OC
Voice of OC
Orange County residents are no longer required to wear cloth masks in public during the coronavirus pandemic after health officials walked back a mandate on Thursday, following weeks of pushback from County Supervisors and the abrupt resignation of the local public health officer.
Former Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick abruptly resigned Monday night following questions about her mask order from Supervisors Michelle Steel and Don Wagner, along with residents.
She also received numerous threats….
Steel and Wagner have repeatedly questioned Quick about the masks at the Board’s Tuesday meetings before her resignation.
OC Health Care Agency Director, Dr. Clayton Chau, is now the acting health officer.
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Although Chau changed the order, he still strongly recommends the masks.
“I want to be clear this does not diminish the importance of face coverings … wearing a cloth face covering helps to slow the spread of COVID 19 and saves lives,” Chau said at a Thursday news conference.
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[Supervisor] Steel openly questioned the science behind the masks at Supervisor meetings, and Chau has repeatedly cited various CDC guidelines and other studies.
“I will always stand by science, even though I work for the Board of Supervisors. But I believe that they hired me to give them the science, that’s all I know … I don’t speak politics,” Chau said Thursday, responding to questions from the press corps.
Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist at University of California, Irvine, said the County is moving the wrong way.
“I think it’s a step backwards. I mean where the rubber meets the road, it was a strong recommendation to begin with because with the way enforcement was being done. But it makes it harder now for individual businesses to require masks within their walls because it softens what the County is doing,” Noymer said.
“It’s sending the message that masks don’t matter as much,” Noymer said. “I’d like to see everyone in the county masking when they go out in public.”
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Nearly all the major grocery store chains, some department stores, some liquor stores and scores of banks require masks. Some banks, like Bank of America, also have an employee standing outside the front door to limit the number of people coming into the branch so people can maintain the CDC-recommended six-foot physical distance from others.
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Meanwhile, bars, gyms and hair salons are slated to reopen Friday.
Youth sports leagues have not been approved yet by the state, said Kim, noting that there has been much discussion with county officials pressing state officials, adding that County Supervisor Don Wagner has been pushing hard to open up youth leagues given the other openings.
Quick and Chau have warned Supervisors that virus cases will increase as more people re-enter public life….
What the W.H.O. Meant to Say About Asymptomatic People Spreading the Coronavirus
The New Yorker
…On Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, went on “Good Morning America” to say that the idea that asymptomatic people were only rarely contagious is “not correct.” But, in part because the comments came in the midst of the drive to reopen, others seized on them. “Good News! People who catch coronavirus but have no symptoms rarely spread the disease,” Senator Rand Paul tweeted. “Translation: sending kids back to school does not require millions of test kits.” In fact, it does…. (continued)