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Coronavirus Cases Continue Dropping as Vaccine Mandates Go Into Effect

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By Jorge Casuso

October 12, 2021 -- Coronavirus cases in Santa Monica and across the Los Angeles region continued dropping as County officials begin instituting one of the strictest vaccine mandates in the nation.

There were 52 coronavirus cases confirmed in Santa Monica last week, down from 63 the previous week, bringing the total to 6,608 cases since the pandemic began, according to County health data.

There were no new coronavirus-related deaths reported for the fourth week in a row, with the total number remaining at 186 in the City some some 93,000.

The decrease in local cases reflects an even larger drop in cases across LA County.

On September 29, one week before County officials began rolling out a series of vaccine mandates, the County had a daily average of 1,028 new cases, a 23 percent decrease from the previous week.

Daily hospitalizations also declined to 900, a 13 percent drop that has continued declining, dropping to 656 patients hospitalized on Sunday in the County of more than 10 million.

The number of deaths has also dropped to a daily average of 13, according to heath officials.

That compares with more than 8,000 patients hospitalized during the early January surge and some 2,000 virus related deaths in the course of a week.

The January surge peaked one month after LA County imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the nation, then suddenly plummeted as new vaccines were only beginning to be rolled out.

As of Sunday, the total number of confirmed cases countywide stood at 1,471,645, with 26,320 virus-related deaths, according to County health data.

The recent drop in cases began weeks before vaccination requirements went into effect in Los Angeles County last Tuesday.

On Thursday, select establishments across L.A. County, including in indoor portions of bars, lounges, nightclubs, breweries, wineries, and distilleries began requiring proof of vaccination.

Also on Thursday, full vaccination or a negative test result began to be required to enter outdoor mega events, and proof of at least one dose of the vaccine was required to enter or work in indoor portions of the above establishments.

"On November 4, bars and similar establishments throughout L.A. County will be required to verify full vaccination of all patrons and employees prior to entry to indoor portions of their establishments," County health officials announced last week.

Although the vaccinated account for a far smaller percentage of those who are hospitalized or die with the virus, the COVID vaccines do not provide full protection, according to County and national health officials.

That's why as the Delta variant was surging this summer, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that those vaccinated, as well as those who are not vaccinated, wear masks indoors in public settings.

Mask mandates for indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccine status, continue to be effect in Los Angeles County, although a recent analysis by SF Gate calls into question their efficacy.

"Orange County -- a non-mask-mandate county -- had a very similar outcome to neighboring Los Angeles County, the first California county to bring back indoor masking in response to delta," SF Gate wrote.

"Not only were the hospitalization figures identical, but Orange County actually had a lower case rate," according to the county comparisons. "Orange County has a similar vaccination rate to Los Angeles County."

SF Gate noted that "it's worth pointing out that mask mandates do not always equate to universal masking, and a lack of mask mandates does not mean that no one in a county is wearing masks voluntarily."

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