Photos: New mask mandate, L.A. County now leading national battle against Delta variant

A masked person is reflected in an aquatic artwork
A masked traveler is reflected in the public artwork “City of Dreams/River of History” by May Sun and Richard Wyatt at Union Station in Los Angeles. Starting Saturday night, residents will again be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of their vaccination status.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
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In reinstituting an indoor mask mandate, Los Angeles County has once again positioned itself at the forefront of the battle against coronavirus, particularly the hyper-virulent Delta variant.

But whether the region becomes a national lodestar or remains on its lonesome remains an open question.

People place orders at a restaurant counter
People wait in line to order a sandwich at Philippe the Original in Los Angeles on Friday. Starting Saturday night, residents will again be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces regardless of their vaccination status.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

L.A. County is far from the only corner of the country to experience a sharp rise in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks. But it’s by far the largest area to turn to mandatory masking, even for those who are vaccinated, in hopes of turning the tide.

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The effects of the new health order, which goes into effect Saturday night, won’t become clear for a few weeks — an eternity in a pandemic that’s already demonstrated it can change trajectory on a dime.

A woman pushes a double stroller with children. All wear masks.
Irma Avila and her children make their way through the Union Station west passageway in Los Angeles on Friday. The family was visiting from Riverside for a day trip to the California Science Center.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
A woman wears a Day of the Dead-style face mask
Brandy Muniz, 31, of Highland Park wears a mask while walking Friday in Highland Park.
(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)
An unmasked man sits at an outdoor table with an iced coffee as another man wearing a mask paints the inside of a shop window
Sam Weissler, left, enjoys an iced coffee while Ryan Maldonado, 30, right, is painting inside a window at Three Kings Tattoo on Friday in Highland Park.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
A man wearing a mask sweeps the floor of a business
Peter Hawks, an apprentice tattooer, sweeps inside Three Kings Tattoo on Friday in Highland Park.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Travelers make their way through Union Station.
Travelers make their way through Union Station in Los Angeles on Friday.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
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People wait to order a sandwich at a restaurant counter.
People wait in line to order a sandwich at Philippe the Original in Los Angeles on Friday.
(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)