The mask mandate is back | August 6, 2021 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - August 6, 2021

The mask mandate is back

Amid COVID surge, everyone must cover their faces in public indoor settings

by Kevin Forestieri

Seven Bay Area counties announced Monday that residents will be required to wear masks in nearly all indoor settings, marking the first major step in reversing a statewide rollback of public health restrictions in June.

This story contains 794 words.

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Email Staff Writer Kevin Forestieri at [email protected]

Comments

Posted by David V
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 2, 2021 at 2:14 pm

David V is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Petra Karenter
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 2, 2021 at 2:26 pm

Petra Karenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 2, 2021 at 2:27 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

"It's not the same virus that we were combating last year, or even a few months ago," Mase said.

Yes it is. A variant is still the same virus. Otherwise the vaccines wouldn't be effective.

This kind of scare-tactics language is irresponsible coming from our local health officials.

Note that they didn't talk about absolute hospitalization numbers. Sounds like they're hiding the fact that hospitals are not even close to being overwhelmed, which is what they're trying to imply.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 2, 2021 at 2:56 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

So now they are advising against dining indoors - again. Hopefully this will mean that Cal Ave and University will remain closed to traffic.


Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2021 at 3:20 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

2. It is and it isn’t the same virus. The Delta variant is 60% more transmissible than the original strain of virus and the CDC found it is somewhat vaccine resistant and vaccinated people can transmit it to others. The fact that it is more transmissible means a larger amount of people can become infected in a shorter amount of time and potentially overrun the health care system [portion removed.] Fortunately, it hasn’t become more deadly and the vaccines are still highly effective against it. So you are only partially correct.

3. Hospitalization data is widely available on county health data dashboards. Health officials aren’t trying to “scare anyone.” I think Morrow said it best that masking is the least restrictive mitigation and will allow businesses to stay open. I'm hopeful we won’t have a tremendous spike in hospitalizations in the Bay Area due to the tremendous vaccine uptake here.

4. Equating masking with a loss of freedom and/or conflating a public health issue with issues of individual freedom is for the simple. Other people also have “the freedom” to not become infected. Mask up.

5. With all of the constant news of Delta and it’s transmissibility, and the stats about how 97% of hospitalized people are unvaccinated, you would have to be absolutely crazy at this point to walk around unvaccinated in my opinion.

6. “The virus doesn’t care what type of indoor space you’re in," said Dr. Han, deputy health officer in SC. “There is a risk that you could get in contact with the virus that causes COVID.”

But wait! You all stood on stage together and made a grand proclamation about schools being safe last month. That’s indoors! Which is it? Will kids be safe?


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2021 at 3:24 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Most of us knew this was coming. It's frustrating, but I have quite the mask collection. Unbelievable.


Posted by Mary
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 2, 2021 at 3:37 pm

Mary is a registered user.

SFGATE quotes SCC deputy health officer George Han as saying "The vaccines have proven that they can effectively prevent severe illness and death, and they are continuing to do so. However, because the Delta variant is transmitted alarmingly easily, including by people who are vaccinated, we need the added protection of masks back into our lives until everyone is able to be vaccinated, especially children."

Web Link

SFGate adds "The latest estimate for when approval [of vaccines for children ages 12 and younger] might happen is 'early to midwinter,' NBC News reported,"

Will this ever end?


Posted by Petra Karenter
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 2, 2021 at 3:44 pm

Petra Karenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Henry Beamon
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2021 at 3:49 pm

Henry Beamon is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 2, 2021 at 4:16 pm

Observer is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Bethany Giftos
a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 2, 2021 at 4:36 pm

Bethany Giftos is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 2, 2021 at 4:52 pm

Observer is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 2, 2021 at 4:57 pm

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

Mask mandates should not be the new normal no matter how many times you are told this, 24/7. This is ignoble forced conformity by the most fearful and conservative who actively advocate Draconian theft of civil liberties. They just love to make decisions for you. Of course, these same people would advocate another lock-down at the drop of a hat and yes, they imperil the ability of Newsom to defeat the recall effort.


Posted by Marcie Hanson
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 2, 2021 at 5:03 pm

Marcie Hanson is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Jimmy
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 2, 2021 at 5:11 pm

Jimmy is a registered user.

Mask up people. Shelter in place is next to come.


Posted by chewie
a resident of University South
on Aug 2, 2021 at 5:15 pm

chewie is a registered user.

Show long-term data on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine on adults and children.


Posted by AlexDeLarge
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 2, 2021 at 5:15 pm

AlexDeLarge is a registered user.


Ruh-Roh, things are looking bad for Newsom but good for the recall.


Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 2, 2021 at 5:23 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

"The fact that it is more transmissible means a larger amount of people can become infected in a shorter amount of time and potentially overrun the health care system like what is currently happening in Florida. "

No it's not. Cases are up in Florida, but hospitals are nowhere close to being overwhelmed. [Portion removed.]


Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 2, 2021 at 5:23 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"And Dr. Fauci authorized the NIH grant to China for these experiments though he says that he had no way of knowing what they were up to."

Wrong all the way. The US had a team of scientists in the NIV. Trump's people yanked them out and blinded us.


Posted by Lynne Henderson
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2021 at 5:25 pm

Lynne Henderson is a registered user.

There are no civil liberties/Constitutional rights issues involved in reasonable regulations to protect public health. Nothing in the Constitution prohibits reasonable regulations for public health, safety, and welfare. I so wish people would recognize this when it comes to wearing masks! The "Spanish flu" seemed to be ebbing, so people threw away their masks--and guess what? It came back with a vengeance, causing more deaths--and more mask mandates.
Yes, it is uncomfortable to wear masks in the heat; yes, one can wish one didn't have to. But my (fully vaccinated) choice is to run the risk of transmitting the virus to others or getting COVID19 myself. Get over yourselves and help us all by wearing masks unless you have serious COPD, etc.


Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2021 at 5:28 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

The mask mandate is for all of the Bay Area and not just SCC. Understand a pandemic effects all people and the virus doesn’t respect county borders so that is also why the mandate is across the board to all Bay Area counties.

Right from the article it states:

“In Santa Clara County, there is now an average of 202 new cases per day over the last week, the highest rates since late February, according to county data. That's almost 10 times higher than the low point in June, despite a countywide vaccination rate of 78% among residents age 12 and older.”

This is why a mask mandate has been reimplemented. In my previous comment I also discussed how vaccinated people can transmit the Delta to others.

Finally, your ongoing premise about masking being a “Draconian Theft of Civil Liberties” is false and you are wrong.

Web Link

Key Excerpts:
As for a mask mandate violating someone's personal liberty, there's a 115-year-old precedent. In 1905, a citizen argued in the Jacobson v. Massachusetts case that a smallpox inoculation mandate infringed on his rights, but the Supreme Court upheld the Cambridge Board of Health's authority to require the vaccine under the 10th Amendment./The Constitution gives states the ability to protect the welfare, safety and health of the public, and in the face of a global pandemic, courts have found that mask mandates are a justified measure. Since the mandates also don't prohibit a person from gathering or sharing their opinions except if the person refuses to wear a mask, it's not a free-speech issue, and Jacobsen provides a long-standing precedent that the right to liberty is not without restriction.

[Portion removed.]


Posted by YP
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2021 at 5:37 pm

YP is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Crescent Park

on Aug 2, 2021 at 5:56 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Crescent Park

on Aug 2, 2021 at 6:09 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 2, 2021 at 6:58 pm

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

Why does Mr. Vopa get to cite case numbers without ever mentioning how few Covid-related deaths there have been in Santa Clara County lately? Me 2 is right. The hospitals and ventilators in Santa Clara County are not in danger of shortage and no beds. That's an exaggeration stretched uncomfortably to support Mr. Vopa's argument to curtail civil liberties by demand of the loudest and fattest. See, 'if they can make us all panic, they can start martial law.' ded prez said that. Very amusing then that Mr. Vopa blandly generalizes that the courts since 1905 support his right to curtain freedoms as he sees fit. The Courts have made some stupid decisions since 1905, and many get overturned and so forth. [Portion removed.]


Posted by Jeremy Erman
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 2, 2021 at 9:30 pm

Jeremy Erman is a registered user.

So does this mean that all indoor theatre and music rehearsals and performances have to cease immediately if performers can't mask? All indoor sports? Or do these fall under the category of activities "that cannot be done while wearing a face covering."? The order does not clearly or comprehensively list all such exempted activities, but gives a few examples and implies that the rest can somehow be deduced:

"Regardless of vaccination status, all persons must wear face coverings at all times when indoors except:

1. in their own residence or working in a closed room or office alone or with members of their household;

2. when they are actively performing an activity that cannot be done while wearing a face covering (e.g., actively eating or drinking, swimming or showering in a fitness facility, or obtaining a medical or cosmetic service requiring removal of a face covering);

3. as specifically exempted from use of face coverings under the guidance of CDPH at Web Link (e.g., to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired or where a face covering poses a safety risk)."

Announcing this with less than one day's notice, the County really needs to clarify what activities are allowed to continue, or else arts and sports and other activities will just shut down for fear of being cited by the County.

Web Link


Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 2, 2021 at 10:34 pm

Mondoman is a registered user.

@JBS Deaths are a lagging indicator, because it takes weeks for people to die of COVID. Hospitalizations happen sooner, and symptomatic infections even sooner than that. That's why public health officials look at the level of (symptomatic) infections to predict what will happen with hospitalizations and deaths in the weeks to come.


Posted by Jeremy Erman
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 2, 2021 at 10:53 pm

Jeremy Erman is a registered user.

By the way, the new order says you can't wear a bandana or scarf as a "face covering." I know some locations such as airports had restrictions like that before, but I don't recall it generally being part of previous mask mandates.

"A face covering does not include a scarf, ski mask, balaclava, bandana, turtleneck, collar, or single layer of fabric or any mask that has an unfiltered one-way exhaust valve."

Web Link


Posted by Jane
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 2, 2021 at 11:33 pm

Jane is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 3, 2021 at 1:12 am

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 3, 2021 at 8:17 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Tough questions need to be asked. When will this mandate be lifted? Will it be when 90% of us are vaccinated, 95%? Will it be when 5 - 11 year olds can be vaccinated? Will it be when there is less than a 1% risk of transmission? 0% risk of transmission. Will it be "to flatten the curve"? Will it be as soon as the recall election is over? Is there actually a criteria for removing this mandate is it just at the whim of the SCC health officers?

Without having any idea of how long or what criteria removes the mandate, we get the impression that this just might be an indefinite or never ending mandate, and I for one do not think that is the way to go forward.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 3, 2021 at 8:41 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

Thanks for persuasive opinion, Bystander. Agree 100%.


Posted by Bob Hernandez
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 3, 2021 at 9:09 am

Bob Hernandez is a registered user.

Mandatory vaccinations are the only way to lessen the current restrictive public health mandates.

Along with civil lawsuits against the unvaccinated whose recalcitrance against face masks and Covid-19 innoculations endanger the lives of others.


Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 3, 2021 at 10:29 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

COVID is spreading at a faster rate now than it did late last year when politicians made it a major election issue. My issue isn't with any sort of ordinances for public health and safety. Rather, it is the lack of clarity and transparency when it comes to the "long haul."

Less than two months ago, Biden was proclaiming a celebration of "America's back together again." This obviously isn't happening (and rightfully so). However, it remains to be seen if there will be political ramifications from declaring "mission accomplished" too soon.

Web Link

I would urge more clarity about any sort of timeline or set of standards before we can return to normalcy. Most people were aware that a variant was coming and that it would be both more transmittable and deadly than the original strain of COVID-19.

Back when we were under Code Purple lockdown, the issue was the danger to our hospital bed capacity. Now, we aren't even told that capacity (although I am quite certain that this concern is still drivingly valid). Why can't we have clear parameters regarding where we need to get to begin the transition to normalcy?


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Aug 3, 2021 at 10:54 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

This is indefinite. I've come to terms with it.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on Aug 3, 2021 at 11:48 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by Forever Name
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 3, 2021 at 12:14 pm

Forever Name is a registered user.

@ Bystander
Agree 100 percent.

Instituting yet another mask mandate in an area with as high a vaccination rate as ours in SCC, a knee jerk CDC reaction to an outbreak in a tiny tourist town across the country with no science to support (per UCSF Dr. Vinay Prasad), it is just politics. Enjoy your masks. I'm vaccinated, and have moved on and am following guidance of actual renown public health professionals at UCSF (like Dr. Monica Gandhi and her entire UCSF staff) along with Johns Hopkins Public Health Dept. Dr. Makary. [Portion removed.] Anyone who truly understands public health knows this mask mandate is actually counterproductive.

"Opinion: Los Angeles’s masking guidance is not only excessive. It undermines vaccination efforts."

Web Link

Quote from article: "One factor driving the fearmongering is that public health officials are staring at case numbers on their computers, oblivious to our new over-testing problem that is inflating case numbers. Specifically, the United States and Britain are routinely testing vaccinated people who are asymptomatic. This is ignoring CDC guidelines that say fully vaccinated people who have no symptoms do not need to get tested. This is based on the recognition that immune people who are asymptomatic might have a detectable virus particle in their nose, but it does not represent a transmission risk and does not cause illness. This is especially true for the delta variant. " Marty Makary is a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Bloomberg School of Public Health and Carey Business School. He is editor in chief of Medpage Today and author of “The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care — and How to Fix It.”

UCSF Doctor, Professor, expert in Public Health research Vinay Prasad reaction to CDC latest flip flopped guidance on masks. States zero science support:
Web Link


Posted by Sophie
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 3, 2021 at 12:15 pm

Sophie is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 3, 2021 at 12:31 pm

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Aug 3, 2021 at 12:47 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

John B. Salis -- I don't accept it but I've come to terms with it for my own mental well-being. There's a difference. I've been in excellent health all my life, but the mental well-being of all of us during the pandemic has really been affected, and I'm choosing to remain calm, cool and collective from this point on.

I hope you really enjoyed your vacation. It sounded like fun!


Posted by Hughie Daniels
a resident of another community
on Aug 3, 2021 at 1:49 pm

Hughie Daniels is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 3, 2021 at 2:47 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

Gandhi, is only one health professional with their opinion. She is in no way, shape, or form the definitive voice on COVID because Gandhi sides with your opinion about “Open The Schools!” or generally shares your thought process about COVID. Ghandi also advocated for unmasking children last Spring so I personally do not and would not trust her word on anything.

Second, you accidentally illustrated partially why we can’t get out of this COVID cycle. You don’t get to “pick and choose” which public health professionals you want to listen to and abide by the ones you want to. You abide by the health professionals mandating the things that directly effects your community. [Portion removed.]

Third, the mask mandate is not counterproductive. Masks do work and slow the spread. [Portion removed.] If anything, provide evidence that mask mandates are “counterproductive” not just state “this is so because…if you know anything about public health.” What? Come on. The CDC dropped the mask mandate in May and now we are having severe increase in cases and hospitalizations. If you can’t link the CDC dropping masking as a direct cause, there is likely at least some sort of even indirect correlation.

[Portion removed.]


Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 3, 2021 at 2:57 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by No heat
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 3, 2021 at 3:17 pm

No heat is a registered user.

Just a reminder folks - it takes people who are getting medical care something like 4-6 weeks on average to die of COVID. The fatality numbers over the past couple weeks represent what conditions were like mid to late June, when we had almost no cases. If we wait until the deaths start to spike to act, a lot more people will die than necessary.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 3, 2021 at 5:37 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Being out and about today and talking with people, there seems to be a jubilant or celebratory attitude by some that "at last we have a mask mandate again". I am shocked by this.

I think it is terrible that in an area where over 82% of the population over 12 are vaccinated that we are in fact having an increase in cases and an increase in hospitalization. This is nothing to celebrate. We are told that these numbers are rising due to unvaccinated people and the Delta virus. We had been heading towards a steady downward trend to the extent that the State was reopened in June. Instead of the trend continuing with less cases, the numbers have in fact been increasing.

We should really be very concerned rather than celebrating the return of mask mandates. We should be concerned that there is a need for this extra layer of caution. If less than 20% of the population is unvaccinated and if they are the ones at risk and if they are the ones who are bringing these numbers of cases and hospitalizations they should be very scared. Not those of us who are vaccinated and have been obeying the rules.

Why are they not scared? Why are they not flocking the vaccination centers? Don't tell me its politics because that makes little sense. Don't tell me its because of fear of death from the vaccine, or infertility fears. Don't tell me its because of ignorance or complacency because that makes little sense also. I want to know answers. I want to know who these cases and who the hospitalized people are. I have questions and I want answers. And, I certainly won't be celebrating the return of the mask mandates.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 3, 2021 at 6:01 pm

John B. Sails is a registered user.

Some people are extremely risk adverse, and are happy to impose their fears and conservatism on others.


A wise man, Jonathan Richman said:

When we refuse to suffer, when we refuse to feel
Your life becomes a bore, and you're suffering even more.
When we refuse to suffer, when we refuse to feel
It's like air-conditioning when we should be out in the summertime.
When we refuse to suffer, when we refuse to feel,
that's when the prozac wins and your body and feelings lose.


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