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Moviegoers wear masks at the AMC movie theater at the Westfield Century City shopping mall in Los Angeles, California on March 15, 2021. Photo: Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Image

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Friday that his department would not enforce an L.A. County mask order, saying it is "not backed by science."

Driving the news: Villanueva's statement comes one day after L.A. county officials announced a new mask mandate for residents in indoor public locations regardless of vaccine status, effective Saturday at 11:59 p.m.

What he's saying: "Forcing the vaccinated and those who already contracted COVID-19 to wear masks indoors is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines," Villanueva said in a statement.

  • "The underfunded/defunded Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not expend our limited resources and instead ask for voluntary compliance," he added.

The big picture: The mask order comes amid rising coronavirus cases in the county.

  • For the seven-day period that ended Wednesday, the county’s average was 1,077 new cases a day. On Thursday, the county reported 1,537 additional cases, per the Los Angeles Times.
  • Individuals who are unvaccinated make up the vast majority of new hospitalizations, cases and deaths.
  • Between Dec. 7 and June 7, the unvaccinated accounted for 99.6% of the county’s coronavirus cases, 98.7% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 99.8% of deaths, per the Times.
  • Among the Los Angeles county population, 69% of those eligible have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 61% are fully vaccinated, per county data.
  • The California Department of Public Health and the CDC maintain that vaccinated people do not need to wear masks indoors, per the Times.

Zoom out: Bay Area health officials are also urging all residents to wear masks indoors as cases of the highly contagious delta variant are rising, per CBS News.

  • Officials in Las Vegas, Nevada, are advising everyone — vaccinated or not — to wear face coverings in crowds and indoor places amid rising coronavirus cases, AP reports.

Go deeper

Oct 22, 2021 - Health

Illinois mandates daycare workers to receive COVID vaccine or weekly testing

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a round table discussion with high school students in October 2018. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced Friday that all daycare workers in the state will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or or submit to weekly testing.

Driving the news: Pritzker said he was issuing the requirement to protect "babies, toddlers, and young children not yet eligible for the vaccine."

2 hours ago - World

U.S: Nord Stream 2 "will not move forward" if Russia invades Ukraine

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price during a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will make sure the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany won't go ahead if Russian troops invade Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told NPR on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Germany's ambassador to the U.S. appeared to support Price's strong rhetoric on the strategically significant pipeline that would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion, per Axios' Zachary Basu.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.