A top Los Angeles County health official has called for people to be arrested if they are caught not wearing a mask in public, saying that not wearing a mask was equivalent to an “act of domestic terrorism.”
Los Angeles County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis made the remarks late last week in a piece that was published by the Los Angeles Daily News.
“County public health officials — faced with dramatically increased rates of transmission and potentially exponential growths of deaths in the coming weeks — have been ringing major alarm bells in recent days as hospital rooms fill up again and depleted hospital staffs scramble to keep up,” the Los Angeles Daily News reported. “They worry that such resources could be overwhelmed this month across the county, as more people ignore public health guidelines and if businesses were able to remain open without constraint.”
Davis said that outdoor dining was a problem and those restaurants needed to have their activity limited in order to get infection rates under control.
“If it were up to me, anybody not wearing a mask when they are out in public would be arrested,” Davis said. “That’s an act of domestic terrorism and should be treated like one.”
The Los Angeles County Public Health Department issued new coronavirus guidelines at the end of last week that go into effect Monday to combat skyrocketing infections and hospitalizations in the area.
The department said in a statement:
Today, Public Health has confirmed 24 new deaths and 4,544 new cases of COVID-19. Currently, the five-day average of new cases is 4,751.
On November 17, Los Angeles County established thresholds for additional actions if the five-day average of cases is 4,500 or more or hospitalizations are more than 2,000 per day. A new Health Officer Order would be issued for three weeks that offered additional safety modifications while allowing essential and emergency workers and those securing or providing essential and permitted services to leave their homes.
In the new Order that goes into effect on Monday, residents are advised to stay home as much as possible and always wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are outside their household and around others. …
Because of the high rates of transmission in the community, restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries remain closed for in-person dining and drinking, as customers are not wearing face coverings during their visit which results in an increased chance of transmission of the virus. Restaurants, wineries and breweries remain open for pick-up, delivery, and take-out. Breweries and wineries remain open for retail sales at 20% occupancy.
There are 1,893 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 24% of these people are in the ICU. On October 27, one month ago, there were 747 people hospitalized with COVID-19.
The statement also significantly cut back at the maximum occupancy that other types of businesses were allowed to have. Some businesses were restricted to cutting back occupancy by 80%.