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KPBS Evening Edition

Doctors Call For Mask Mandate While San Diego County Still 'Monitoring'

A man leaves a grocery store wearing a face mask Friday, April 17, 2020, in San Diego.
Gregory Bull / AP Photo
A man leaves a grocery store wearing a face mask Friday, April 17, 2020, in San Diego.

San Diego County is now the largest county in California that has not reinstated a mask mandate, even though medical and hospital groups are calling for one.

“We should have a mask mandate,” said Dr. Eric Topol, is the director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute.

Doctors Call For Mask Mandate While San Diego County Still ‘Monitoring’
Listen to this story by Melissa Mae.

He told KPBS Midday Edition the delta variant is highly transmissible between people even in outdoor settings.

The whole country is currently struggling through its fourth wave of COVID-19.

“While we’re in it, there’s so much circulating virus to deal with," he said. "The best thing we can do is up our protection to the max and we’re not doing it generally and that’s a problem.”

Dr. Topol is not the only medical professional who thinks the County needs to mask up again. The San Diego County Medical Society and the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties are calling on the county to reinstate mask mandates.

Local San Diego Groups Call For Reinstating Mask Mandate

Even the Superior Courts in San Diego County now require everyone to wear a mask inside.

Presiding Judge Lorna Alksne of the San Diego Superior Court cited the delta variant as a reason for masking up her courtroom.

“We’re doing it to help everyone that accesses the court,” Alksne said. “We can’t be open if we don’t have our employees here. If people have to quarantine. If judges can’t come in. If the deputies and the defendants and the litigants. We just need to keep everybody safe and the best way during this delta surge is to keep everybody in masks.”

On Wednesday, KPBS again asked San Diego County whether a mask mandate would be reinstated. Just as it did earlier this month, the county told us it is continuing to monitor the situation.

For most indoor settings, masks are required for those who are unvaccinated and recommended for those who are vaccinated. Masks are still required for everyone in public transit, K-12 schools and health care.