PANIC PORN RETURNS : Los Angeles County rang in the new year by reintroducing a mask mandate for all licensed healthcare institutions’ workers and visitors in response to a rising number of COVID-19 infections that have led to hospitalizations and deaths— according to officials. 

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

L.A. county officials blamed the spike in infections on holiday gatherings and the fact that people “gathered inside” during the cold December month. 

There were 609 COVID-positive patients in L.A. County hospitals as of December 23— an increase from 259 on November 1 but a decrease from the 1,200 at this time last year. Some of the individuals were hospitalized for other reasons and were later diagnosed with COVID-19 after being tested at the hospitals.