Surgeon general backs localized mask mandates as Delta variant drives rise in cases

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy said Sunday that he supports individual counties reinstating mask mandates to combat local surges of the coronavirus among unvaccinated people — like Los Angeles County did last week — as the pathogen’s highly contagious delta variant drives a spike in infections and the Biden administration seeks to project a sense of cautious optimism about the country’s return to normalcy.

“It’s very reasonable for counties to take more mitigation measures like the mask rules you see coming out in L.A., and I anticipate that will happen in other parts of the country too,” Murthy said on ABC News’s “This Week.“...

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in May that fully vaccinated individuals no longer needed to wear masks when shopping, dining at restaurants or gathering in other indoor locations, but the guidelines also gave local officials flexibility to respond to new outbreaks, Murthy said. The Los Angeles County order reinstating mask requirements indoors applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

“That is not contradictory to the guidance the CDC has issued,” Murthy said.