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Scott Steepleton, Editor
10:51 am PDT July 18, 2021

It’s been about two weeks since Independence Day, and county public health officials say the spread of COVID-19 “has rapidly increased to very concerning levels.”

California “reopened” a month and a couple days ago, and it seems the more infectious Delta variant — a mutation that originally surfaced in India in December 2020 before spreading to become the dominant strain of the virus in both India and then Great Britain — is taking hold.

But there’s something else afoot, say Los Angeles County Public Health Department officials: “intermingling of unmasked individuals where vaccination status is unknown.” 

As of this weekend, Public Health confirmed 1,827 new cases of COVID-19. That's a fourfold increase from July 4; eight times the cases seen on June 15.

“Given the increased intermingling among unmasked people where vaccination status is unknown, the millions of people still unvaccinated, and the increased circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant, we are seeing a rapid increase in COVID-19 infection,” said Barbara Ferrer, county director of public health. “The level of COVID-19 transmission we are currently experiencing is now leading to significant increases in serious illness and hospitalizations, and requires us to take immediate action to prevent erosion of our recovery efforts. And while vaccinations are by far the most powerful tool we have, we are nowhere near herd immunity.” 

Officials confirmed 479 cases in Malibu since last year and eight deaths.