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How California turned the tide, achieved lowest coronavirus transmission rate in US

Rong-Gong Lin II and Luke Money, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES — A few months ago, it looked as if California’s long-awaited reopening following massive coronavirus closures might be derailed by the highly contagious delta variant.

Cases shot up in many areas, and then hospitals began to fill again.

There was a summer surge, but the curve has begun to flatten in many parts of California, which now has the lowest coronavirus case rate of any state in the nation.

How did this happen?

While California has not reinstituted the sort of sweeping restrictions seen earlier in the pandemic, the state — along with many local health departments and other systems — has taken steps to tackle the delta variant.

Notably, Los Angeles County reimposed a mandate in mid-July requiring all residents, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings in public indoor places. A number of other counties have since followed suit.


Those who have yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19 must wear masks in indoor public settings throughout California, though state officials continue to only recommend — not require — that fully vaccinated people do likewise.

Some parts of the state also require that residents show they’ve either been vaccinated or recently tested negative before patronizing certain businesses or venues.

Statewide, such vaccine-or-testing proof is required for all attendees of indoor events with at least 1,000 people, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Other areas have gone further. In L.A. County, participants and workers at outdoor events with more than 10,000 attendees will need to provide proof of vaccination or show they’ve recently tested negative for the coronavirus, starting Oct. 7.


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