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The city of New Orleans is issuing a new indoor mask mandate as coronavirus cases throughout the state continue to climb, particularly among those who are unvaccinated. While the new rules won’t be strictly enforced, the state’s public health officials are strictly advising the city to mask up and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

The high transmissible Delta Variant has been linked to Lousiana’s sudden surge of cases. This week CDC director Rochelle Walensky announced that the potent strain now accounts for 83% of COVID-19 cases throughout the U.S.

“Over the last week we have averaged 239 deaths per day, an increase of nearly 48% over the prior week,” Waleknsky explained.

According to the New York Times, the case holds to be true in places like Louisiana that reported over 5000 new cases this week and in Los Angeles where the city also issued a mask mandate after 10,000 coronavirus cases hit the state in a week– numbers the city hadn’t seen since the height of the pandemic back in March.

The CDC reported nearly 161.5 million people across the nation are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.  Additionally, more than 56% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. However, Walensky explained that vaccination rates differ state by state. 

 “Vaccine coverage varies by state and by county. Communities, where people remain unvaccinated, are most vulnerable and are most likely to experience an increase in case counts,” she said. 

Vaccinated people remain at low risk of contracting the virus and the highly powerful Delta Variant strain but for unvaccinated people, the decision to remain unvaccinated could be potentially life-threatening.

As cases continue to soar, other states may reinstate mask-wearing protocols and stricter social distancing rules.

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