State Releases New Guidance for Use of Face Coverings

By David M. Greenwald

Sacramento – California’s Department of Public Health put out new guidance for face coverings, superseding the previous guidance from November 2020.  The guidance continues to mandate face masks in indoor settings, with few exceptions.

The state warns, “The risk for COVID-19 exposure and infection will continue to remain until we reach community immunity from vaccinations.”  Indeed, experts on Monday warned that so-called “herd immunity” is unlikely in the US.

“Widely circulating coronavirus variants and persistent hesitancy about vaccines will keep the goal out of reach. The virus is here to stay, but vaccinating the most vulnerable may be enough to restore normalcy,” the NY Times reported.

“The virus is unlikely to go away,” said Rustom Antia, an evolutionary biologist at Emory University in Atlanta. “But we want to do all we can to check that it’s likely to become a mild infection.”

Vaccinations remain the key to “transforming the virus into a controllable threat,” but at the same time, reluctance from broad sectors to vaccinate will make it far more difficult to return to normal.

Dr. Fauci explained, “People were getting confused and thinking you’re never going to get the infections down until you reach this mystical level of herd immunity, whatever that number is.

“That’s why we stopped using herd immunity in the classic sense,” he added. “I’m saying: Forget that for a second. You vaccinate enough people, the infections are going to go down.”

Nate Silver, however, pointed out, “One thing I find a bit weird is that discussion of how the herd immunity math might play out in the US often brushes past the role that natural immunity (from having had COVID) plays.”

He notes as many as one-third of the US population may have had COVID at some point.

He wrote, “You can’t just add up the ~33% who had COVID and the ~45% who’ve been vaccinated because there is some overlap between those groups. But survey data etc. suggests less overlap than you’d think since unvaccinated people tend to have been taking fewer precautions against COVID.”

He added that “there will be less and less overlap over time, since unvaccinated people are disproportionately more likely to get COVID going forward.”

In the meantime, California put out new guidance.

For fully vaccinated persons, “face coverings are not required outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.”

For those unvaccinated, “face coverings are required outdoors any time physical distancing cannot be maintained, including when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.”

In indoor settings outside of one’s home, including public transportation, “face coverings continue to be required regardless of vaccination status.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Alan Miller

    Seems like the right thing.  Outdoors there is little chance of contracting, so I don’t get people I see walking dogs solo with masks.  I’m still unaware that was ever illegal, walking solo outside without a mask, so not sure what the actual change is.  But a good idea in a crowded setting, still, to wear a mask.  No matter huge swaths of the country ignore this – and only in our liberal bubbles do people follow the guidelines, and even then, only some people, sometimes . . .

    Again, what changed?

    1. David Greenwald

      The previous guidance allowed people to walk their dog solo without a mask. What’s changed is now vaccinated people unless they are in crowds, don’t have to wear a mask outdoors.

      1. Alan Miller

        But I don’t think they had to wear one outdoors unless in a crowd previously either, or passing someone.  So I don’t see the change.  But it doesn’t matter.  This has always been about cultural regional political behavioral contagion, not best practices.

  2. Chris Griffith

    If this entire pandemic hadn’t been used by everyone and their cousin for political purposes, we’d have been better off. People look at the history of the pandemic and go: “Masks don’t work. Six feet distancing. Oh, lockdown, but the big chains can stay open and we’ll just run the small businesses out of business. Wipe down everything with alcohol and bleach. Oh, no wear N95 masks. Oh, we don’t have enough, so KN95s are okay. Uh, okay, it doesn’t spread much by surfaces. Um, cloth masks are okay. Stay home unless you’re protesting some righteous cause like BLM. Just 100 days and we’ll flatten the curve! Yeehaw! Oh, wait, didn’t work. Keep everything locked down indefinitely. You can’t get a hair cut but Nancy Pelosi can. Um, wear two masks. No, wear four! Get the vaccine! Oh, wait, even when fully vaccinated your life still has to be destroyed, you can’t go back to work, you have to wear a mask and can’t assemble or go to church. No, three feet is okay for children says the CDC. Teachers unions want their teachers to keep getting paid and the schools to stay closed because they don’t believe three feet. Oops, the vaccine from J&J is causing blood clots in 0.00009% of the people who receive it so let’s ‘pause!’. Joe Biden wears a mask on a Zoom call, then goes and addresses the people saying basically ‘If you’re really good you might get to have Fourth of July!’ and then goes to a thinned out, socially distanced, totally immunized Congress without a mask while the rest of Congress is scattered around with masks firmly affixed. This wasn’t necessarily incompetence, negligence, or malevolence. I know it. You know it. The problem is when you throw contradictory things like this at a population consisting of people who don’t understand you don’t take Tylenol PM (acetaminophen and diphenhydramine) together with generic allergy pills and “fever reducer” (duplication), or who can’t set their microwave clock, you’re going to get a lot of confusion and eventually a defensive reaction that all those “know it all’s and “elites” are out to get them. It doesn’t help that the “authorities” keep contradicting themselves.

    Just one persons opinion.



    1. David Greenwald

      One of the problems is that we were dealing with a virus that we knew very little about and had to make decisions that had life or death implications on the fly. As we learned more, we then refined our approach. But it’s still something of a black box here.

    2. Bill Marshall

      You are correct, the ‘messaging’ has been all over the place... including, initially, the head of US Gov’t saying “it’s not worse than the flu, and will be gone by June (2020)… same person implying the the ‘scare’ is due to ‘liberal media’ and ‘Democrats trying to foil my upcoming presidential campaign’… “China caused this!”

      Yet, 32 million Americans have been infected… over 580 k have died… hospital beds were taken up by Covid patients, which meant they were not available for those in other dire circumstances…

      We still don’t know if someone, ‘fully vaccinated’, might be ‘carriers’… we do know that those who refuse vaccination, masking, distancing are at risk for themselves, and anyone they interact with… level of risk is unknown at this point…

      But, we are still learning, ‘living in the moment’, and we should get better in knowledge and “messaging”… so, am agreeing with your points/frustrations, but am adding ones you didn’t mention…

      It s what it is… all we can do is to deal with the pandemic, our own, and the health of others, by the best science available at the time… definitely NOT politics…

  3. Chris Griffith

    This is the very reason why the aliens from outer space haven’t made contact with us humans here on Earth yet 😳 of course on the other hand maybe they’re the ones that are in charge and running our government.

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