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A crowd of people, some wearing face masks, walk through the streets of Solvang, California. Photo: George Rose/Getty Images

Los Angeles County will again require residents to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination statues starting this Sunday because of recent increases in new coronavirus cases and rising concerns over the Delta variant of the virus.

Why it matters: The latest order in the most populous county in the United States comes after it reported 1,537 new COVID cases, an 83% increase over the last week.

What they're saying: Though the county will allow some exceptions to the order, the masking requirements will be similar to what they were before California officially reopened in June, Muntu Davis, the county's health officer, said Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

  • "We’re not where we need to be for the millions at risk of infection here in Los Angeles County, and waiting to do something will be too late given what we’re seeing now," Davis said.

Zoom out: Local health officials in Sacramento and Yolo counties also called for residents to wear masks indoors, though neither are mandatory.

What to watch: Davis expects the latest order to remain "in place until we begin to see improvements” in community transmission," according to the Times.

  • "Anything is on the table if things continue to get worse, which is why we want to take action now," Davis added.
  • He said further restrictions could be implemented if conditions worsen.

Editor's note: This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Go deeper

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Los Angeles County to require vaccination proof at indoor bars — France suspends 3,000 unvaccinated health workers without pay — Moderna suggests booster shots, citing clinical data.
  2. Health: 1 in 500 Americans has died — Cases are falling, but deaths are rising — Study: Gaps in data on Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders alarming amid COVID.
  3. Politics: Gottlieb says CDC hampered U.S. response — 26 states have limited state or local officials' public health powers — Axios-Ipsos poll: 60% of voters back Biden vaccine mandates.
  4. Education: Denver looks to students to close Latino vaccination gap — Federal judge temporarily blocks Iowa's ban on mask mandates in schools — Massachusetts activates National Guard to help with school transportation.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Sep 15, 2021 - Health

1 in 500 Americans has died of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: CDC and U.S. Census Bureau; Table: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The U.S. has reached a grim pandemic milestone: More than 1 in 500 Americans has died of COVID-19, according to the latest available data.

Why it matters: The rising death toll highlights the continued effects of the Delta variant and the ongoing struggle to get Americans vaccinated.

By the numbers: The total number of COVID-19 deaths recorded in the United States is 665,496 as of 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, according to reporting by Johns Hopkins University.

  • 30.1% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. involved individuals ages 85 and older as of Wednesday, despite only making up 2% of cases and an equal portion of the population.
Sep 15, 2021 - World

EU pledges 200 million vaccine doses to Africa, low-income nations

Photo: Patrick Meinhardt/AFP via Getty Images

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that the bloc would donate an additional 200 million coronavirus vaccine doses to Africa and low-income nations, AP reports.

Why it matters: The new donation, slated to be delivered by the middle of next year, comes as confirmed cases of the coronavirus have reached 225 million globally.