LA county official declares she will not support new mask mandate

Kathryn Barger, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, has announced that she will oppose any mask mandates that LA’s Public Health Department plans to reinstate.

Fox New’s Bill Melugin posted an open letter Barger wrote to her constituents on Twitter that said, “I believe masking mandates are polarizing and are unenforceable” and “Imposing a one-size-fits-all masking mandate now for all is not something I can or will support.”

As local news reports, LA county is expected to bring back indoor mask mandates by the end of the week. Officials are citing an increased number of cases and deaths as the cause for the mandate’s return.

Barger, who is Supervisor of LA’s 5th district, said in her letter, “I have not seen any empirical data that conclusively shows that masking mandates make a difference in decreasing or stopping COVID-19 transmission rates.”

The data suggests the death rate remains low in LA County despite a mild increase due to variants of the disease such as omicron.

LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said, “The best way to manage the uncertainty and to reduce morbidity and mortality is to remain open to using both the sophisticated tools we now have our tests, our vaccines, our therapeutics and the nonpharmaceutical strategies, masking, ventilation, and distancing to layer on protections to respond to the conditions at hand.”

In July of 2021, Kathryn wrote on Twitter, “I am concerned by rising cases, but I don’t believe the mask mandate will help efforts to stress vaccine efficacy and compel unvaccinated residents to get vaccinated.” The statement came as the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health was still recommending that all residents wear masks in public indoor spaces.

In February of 2022, Barger said that the blanket COVID-19 masking policies in the county should be reconsidered.

“They don’t make a difference when they’re not consistently followed or enforced,” she said. “I strongly believe individuals should be allowed to make an informed choice about whether to mask up or not.” Barger abstained from a vote a few days later that mandated the county personnel director to discipline any employees that failed to comply with the county’s vaccine mandate.

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