Health officer: Face mask requirement may be needed indoors

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A visitor wearing a mask to protect against the spread of COVID-19 passes a sign requiring masks, Tuesday, July 7, 2020, in San Antonio. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared masks or face coverings must be worn in public across most of the state as local officials across the state say their hospitals are becoming increasingly stretched and are in danger of becoming overrun as cases of the coronavirus surge. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The head of the health department in Alabama’s largest metro area says COVID-19 is spreading so rapidly that public places should consider a return to requiring face masks.

The health officer for Jefferson County says studies have shown the delta variant that has taken hold in Alabama can spread between people in less than a minute.

He says that means any indoor area where people gather might need a face mask requirement or at least a strong recommendation that people wear them.

The problem isn’t isolated to Jefferson County: the vast majority of counties in Alabama are considered to be at high risk for the illness.

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