Masking, breakthrough infections and telehealth: Keck Medicine of USC experts on life after June 15

Keck Medicine of USC

June 15 is a banner day in California. Most COVID-19 statewide restrictions will be eliminated, including physical distancing and, in many situations, mask mandates. How will life change and how will it stay the same? Keck Medicine of USC experts weigh in on what to expect next in the Golden State.

Don’t ditch your mask at the doctor’s office

“On June 15, people who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to wear masks, with a few exceptions, however. One of those is in health care settings. According to guidelines from the state and the Centers for Disease Control, everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, must continue to wear a mask in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital.

“At all Keck Medicine hospitals and outpatient offices, we are still requiring individuals to wear masks at all times and maintain six feet of physical distance from others. We will continue to screen for COVID-19 symptoms for all our patients and visitors upon entry. Patients in our hospitals will now be allowed two visitors at a time if both visitors are vaccinated or one visitor if that visitor is not vaccinated. Overnight visitors, however, must be vaccinated.

“While such measures may seem restrictive in the new relaxed environment, we, as health care providers, owe it to our patients, visitors and staff, some who are among the most vulnerable and prone to catching the coronavirus, to continue to take all precautions to protect them from COVID-19. We and other health care providers will continue to evaluate best safety policies throughout the summer as we receive further guidance from state and national public health officials.”

 - Stephanie Hall, MD, chief medical officer of Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital


The possibility of breakthrough infections is low, even with the rise of the Delta variant

“Vaccines, while not foolproof, are highly effective in preventing COVID-19, hospitalization and death. We are seeing a few cases of people who are fully vaccinated testing positive for COVID-19, which is also called a breakthrough infection. However, the chances of that happening are extremely low, way below one percent. Breakthrough cases also tend to be moderate.

“The rare breakthrough infection can happen in two instances. It most commonly occurs when someone is exposed to a variant of the coronavirus, such as the Delta variant prevalent in India, and the vaccine fails to protect against the new strain of the virus. Additionally, a small segment of the population, which includes the elderly or immunosuppressed, is unable to mount a strong enough immune response to the virus, leaving them vulnerable to future infections.

“We are currently seeing a rise in the Delta and other variants in the United States, but data is showing that the vaccine, whether it’s the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, protects against variants. We expect breakthrough infections to remain isolated cases even as the state opens up. For the vast majority of those vaccinated, they can rest assured that the vaccine will protect them.”

Edward Jones-Lopez, MD, MS, infectious disease expert with Keck Medicine of USC


Expect to keep visiting your doctor virtually

“The pandemic has seen a phenomenal rise in telehealth – patients accessing their doctors online. Keck Medicine telemedicine visits have increased roughly from 10 per day pre-COVID-19 to approximately 800 a day. To date, we have seen more than 75,000 unique patients, resulting in more than 223,000 telehealth visits. In addition, we have since increased accessibility to services as a result of telehealth, including psychiatry, neurology, primary care and several medical specialties. 

“Telemedicine, however, has a much longer shelf life than the pandemic. According to one internal survey, patient satisfaction with the quality of service ranked in the 99th percentile. Telehealth offers patients flexibility and convenience in how and where they receive their health care, and could have a long-term impact on increasing access to care. This is a positive change for the industry for both patients and providers. While the number of telehealth appointments may decline as people return to in-person visits, remote access to physicians is here to stay."

Smitha Ravipudi, MPH, CEO of USC Care and Ambulatory Care Services with Keck Medicine of USC



For more information about Keck Medicine of USC, please visit


Filters close

Showing results

110 of 6101
Released: 30-Jul-2021 2:05 PM EDT
Thinking Impaired in 60% of COVID-19 Survivors, Study Finds
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

In a sample of over 400 older adults in Argentina who had recovered from COVID-19, more than 60% displayed some degree of cognitive impairment, a researcher from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio reported July 29 at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.

Released: 30-Jul-2021 11:50 AM EDT
Support for Government Mandates High and Increasing Over Time, Survey Finds
Rutgers University-New Brunswick

As the coronavirus Delta variant surges throughout the country and mask and vaccine mandates are being considered, a new national survey finds that almost 20 percent of Americans say it is unlikely that they will get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Newswise: How to Play with Your Children in Age-appropriate and Creative Ways When Schools Are Still Closed and Everyone Is Still Stuck at Home
Released: 30-Jul-2021 8:55 AM EDT
How to Play with Your Children in Age-appropriate and Creative Ways When Schools Are Still Closed and Everyone Is Still Stuck at Home
Chulalongkorn University

The COVID-19 situation may have restricted people’s space, but not their imagination. A Chula lecturer has given recommendations to parents who need to spend more time at home on select social activities to enhance children’s development in a safe and age-appropriate way.

Released: 30-Jul-2021 8:30 AM EDT
American Society of Anesthesiologists Strongly Encourages all Health Care Personnel to Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19
American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)

Amid the new surge of COVID-19 cases across the U.S., the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), and eight professional societies associated with the specialty, are strongly encouraging the nation’s health care workers and all eligible Americans to get fully vaccinated with one of the COVID-19 vaccines. ASA and the associated societies remind the public that widespread vaccination is the most effective way to reduce illness and death.

Released: 29-Jul-2021 4:45 PM EDT
Which Voices Led Medical Misinformation in the Early Stages of COVID?
University of Cincinnati

In the early and thus far most devastating stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists were at a near loss on how to treat the deadly disease.

Released: 29-Jul-2021 4:40 PM EDT
Half of U.S. Parents May Not Vaccinate Their Youngest Child Against COVID-19
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy

Even as the delta variant of Covid-19 sweeps the globe, leaving those who remain unvaccinated vulnerable, vaccination among adults and teenagers in the United States is stalling, giving rise to concerns over whether parents will vaccinate their young children once vaccines are approved for those under 12 years of age.

Newswise: COVID-19 update: coping with increased cases, breakthrough infections, national masking mandates and vaccine requirements
Released: 29-Jul-2021 4:05 PM EDT
COVID-19 update: coping with increased cases, breakthrough infections, national masking mandates and vaccine requirements
Keck Medicine of USC

Keck Medicine of USC experts speak out on the continued physical and emotional consequences of COVID-19

Released: 29-Jul-2021 3:45 PM EDT
FSMB: Spreading COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation May Put Medical License at Risk
Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB)

The Federation of State Medical Boards’ Board of Directors released statement in response to a dramatic increase in the dissemination of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and disinformation by physicians and other health care professionals on social media platforms, online and in the media.

Newswise: Argonne’s Macal named Fellow of the Society for Computer Simulation International
Released: 29-Jul-2021 2:05 PM EDT
Argonne’s Macal named Fellow of the Society for Computer Simulation International
Argonne National Laboratory

Charles M. “Chick” Macal, a modeling and simulation expert at Argonne, garnered the distinguished title of Fellow of the Society for Computer Simulation International for his 20 years in the field and his recent studies on COVID-19 spread.

Showing results

110 of 6101