Orange County, Florida mayor asks residents to continue wearing masks regardless of vaccination status

Woman with Face Mask – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by JDzacovsky

The Mayor of Orange County, Florida, is asking residents to wear face masks inside as the county’s COVID-19 positivity rates continue to climb. 

According to Mayor Jerry Demings, the county’s fourteen-day rolling positivity rate currently sits at 7.78%.

“Two weeks ago on June 28, it was 4.28%. We are now considered by the CDC the high-risk category for community transmission, that quite frankly is not good news for our county,” Demings said.

“I am announcing today that it is my official recommendation that Orange County return to the status in which it is recommended that all residents vaccinated and unvaccinated consider wearing facial coverings indoors when in crowded environments,” Mayor Jerry Demings continued in an announcement reported by a local NPR affiliate station.

Officials stated that the cases are rising primarily among unvaccinated individuals.

Dr. Raul Pino from the Florida Department of Health in Orange County stated that the county is also seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases and predicts that the upward trend will continue.

“It makes a lot of sense what the mayor just announced. For those who are going to go into crowded environments indoors everyone should be masked,” county medical director Raul Pino said. “If you want to protect yourself. It is your choice, it is your decision, it’s not a mandate.”

The announcement comes as the new delta variant of the coronavirus spreads quickly and becomes the dominant strain in the U.S. Infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci described the delta strain as a “nasty variant” during an interview Sunday.

“The bad news is that we have a very nasty variant. The good news is that we have a vaccine that works against it,” Fauci stated.

The delta variant is said to spread much easier than both the original COVID-19 strain and its alpha variant which was first found in Britain. The alpha strain may cause a much more serious illness. 

Those with the highest probability of becoming infected are adults and children who have not been vaccinated yet. The risk of serious illness from the delta variant is higher for unvaccinated adults, but disease experts are still worried that children may be at risk. 

Coronavirus cases have spiked significantly in almost every state as the delta variant grows quicker and as states ease up on social distancing requirements and mask mandates. 

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