Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Friday that his department would not enforce an L.A. County mask order, saying it is "not backed by science."
Driving the news: Villanueva's statement comes one day after L.A. county officials announced a new mask mandate for residents in indoor public locations regardless of vaccine status, effective Saturday at 11:59 p.m.
What he's saying: "Forcing the vaccinated and those who already contracted COVID-19 to wear masks indoors is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines," Villanueva said in a statement.
- "The underfunded/defunded Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not expend our limited resources and instead ask for voluntary compliance," he added.
The big picture: The mask order comes amid rising coronavirus cases in the county.
- For the seven-day period that ended Wednesday, the county’s average was 1,077 new cases a day. On Thursday, the county reported 1,537 additional cases, per the Los Angeles Times.
- Individuals who are unvaccinated make up the vast majority of new hospitalizations, cases and deaths.
- Between Dec. 7 and June 7, the unvaccinated accounted for 99.6% of the county’s coronavirus cases, 98.7% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 99.8% of deaths, per the Times.
- Among the Los Angeles county population, 69% of those eligible have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 61% are fully vaccinated, per county data.
- The California Department of Public Health and the CDC maintain that vaccinated people do not need to wear masks indoors, per the Times.
Zoom out: Officials in Las Vegas, Nevada, are also advising everyone — vaccinated or not — to wear face coverings in crowds and indoor places amid rising coronavirus cases, AP reports.