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Morning Brief: Indoor Mask Mandates, Rams Lotería, And Intersecting Identities

Masks are seen displayed on a clothesline on July 20, 2020.
(CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Feb. 8.

It’s like 2020 all over again. 

Remember earlier in the pandemic, when mask mandates were put in place, then lifted, then put back in place, then lifted again? Well, get ready for the same back and forth.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced yesterday that California’s indoor mask mandate will expire on Feb. 16.

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“CA’s case rate has decreased by 65% since our Omicron peak,” he wrote on Twitter. “Our hospitalizations have stabilized across the state.” The tweet went on to say that unvaccinated people will still have to mask up inside, and encouraged folks to get the vaccine and booster shots.

With that said, though, L.A. County’s cases still aren’t where they need to be for the expiration to apply locally. L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer spoke to our newsroom about L.A. County's plans following Gov. Newsom's announcement.

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​​"I think, unfortunately, moving on here at L.A. County means keeping our masks on while we're indoors for a while longer," Ferrer said on our newsroom’s public affairs show, All Things Considered. "Our case numbers are still extraordinarily high."

Health officials said last week that we will need to have case rates that fall into the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s “moderate” category for at least two consecutive weeks before anything changes.

Moderate transmission is 10 to 50 cases per 100,000 people, or a positivity rate between 5% and 8%.

Ferrer also said that the public needs to keep in mind the most at-risk members of the community, like essential workers, before rushing to "declare victory over the pandemic."

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • The ACLU of Southern California, Black Lives Matter-L.A. and other groups want L.A. County officials to be able to remove an elected sheriff from office (and yes, they’re looking at L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva).
  • Villanueva is stepping into the middle of a legal fight over his rehiring of a deputy who had been fired for domestic violence and dishonesty.
  • Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley, who has has overseen OC’s election system for the past 17 years, will retire next month.
  • A new California law requires middle and high schools that already have a health education course to dedicate part of the curriculum to mental health. 
  • Artist Diego Mendoza-Ramos, 28, has designed a Lotería game for the L.A. Rams.
  • PETA is calling for an investigation into the movie Jackass Forever, alleging animal cruelty.

Before You Go ... This Week's Event Pick: Intersecting Identities

An abstract image of a black cowboy in jeans, boots, a cowboy hat and holding two six shooters. Text repeats the phrase 'Black Cowboy' behind the cowboy.
Arushi Gallery examines the cultural diversity within the African Diaspora in the group exhibition, 'Intersecting Identities.'
(Courtesy of Arushi Gallery and artist Clarence James)
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A group show at downtown’s Arushi Gallery features artworks by 12 international contemporary artists representing the African Diaspora. Curated by Arushi Kapoor and Tina Tangalakis, the exhibition showcases 24 works by 12 international artists. The opening reception will be held at the gallery on Feb. 10 from 6:30-10 p.m.

Or, you could: Catch Sparks live in concert. Watch Bryan Cranston on stage. Listen to storytellers tell five-minute tales at The Moth. Tune into author Dean Koontz’s conversation with Tess Gerritsen. And more.

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