Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva indicated on Friday his department is too busy and has too few resources to spend time enforcing a newly-imposed indoor mask mandate as COVID-19 infections begin to rise again.
While acknowledging that the county health department has the authority to enforce the mandate, officials won’t be getting much help from his deputies.
Villanueva also clapped back at the need for the mask mandate among Los Angelenos and others who have been vaccinated or have had the disease and are deemed immune.
“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,” he said in a statement posted to the department’s website.
(Video: Fox News)
“The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has authority to enforce the order, but the underfunded/defunded Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not expend our limited resources and instead ask for voluntary compliance,” the sheriff continued. ” We encourage the DPH to work collaboratively with the Board of Supervisors and law enforcement to establish mandates that are both achievable and supported by science.”
Some on social media expressed gratitude for Villanueva’s statement.
“@LACoSheriff thank you for being a voice of reason and standing with science which @lapublichealth is ignoring. Their mask mandate only disincentivizes people to get vaccinated, there is no improvement in quality of life over anti-vaxxers. Thankfully you understand the science,” one user wrote.
“Run for Governor, Sir. We need your leadership,” another wrote.
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson addressed L.A. County’s renewed mask mandate during a segment on his Friday program, acknowledging Villanueva’s announcement and praising him for it.
He went on to note that several health experts have said mask-wearing isn’t necessary for vaccinated people before playing a clip of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky saying as much.
“We are asking people to be honest with themselves: If they are vaccinated and they are not wearing a mask, they are safe,” Walensky told NBC host Chuck Todd in May. “If they are not vaccinated and they are not wearing a mask, they are not safe.”
Carlson went on to observe that experts have been giving conflicting guidance before suggesting that “maybe the experts and the science have nothing to do with any of this.”
“Maybe it’s as simple as once you hand power over your life, the intimate details — what you can wear while you’re eating, for example, whether you can go to church — they don’t wanna give it back,” the host said, adding that there are indications additional U.S. cities are going to reimpose mask mandates as outbreaks of the Delta variant of the virus, which has not yet proven to be any more deadly than the original strain, occur in various parts of the country.
Carlson went on to bring in former New York Times writer and author Alex Berenson, who has been researching and following the COVID-19 pandemic since it began and was blocked earlier this week by Twitter after posting data indicating masks “probably do little to nothing” to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Masks are useless for their wearers,” Berenson said. “We’ve known this for at least a year. We have a randomized trial showing it. They probably do little to noting for source control, i.e., block the transmission of the virus. We’ve known that, too.”
The “Unreported Truths” author suggested that masks were merely “symbolic.”
“All they are is a sign you are in a dangerous time, you need to listen to us,” he continued. “You know, if I don’t see people wearing masks, I forget to be scared.”
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