Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s daughter Violet urges Los Angeles officials to oppose mask bans, says she developed post-viral condition

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s 18-year-old daughter Violet is urging Los Angeles officials to oppose mask bans and to issue a mask mandate in medical facilities to help reduce the risk of long COVID, a condition that persists in some patients after being infected with the virus.

After she introduced herself during an L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday as a Los Angeles resident and first-time voter, Violet Affleck explained that she developed a post-viral condition in 2019. In a clip shared on social media, she said that while she is OK now, it showed her that “medicine does not always have answers to the consequences of even minor viruses. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown that into sharper relief.”

“One in 10 infections leads to long COVID, which is a devastation neurological, cardiovascular illness that can take away people’s ability to work, move, see and even think” she said.

To help reduce the risk, she called for mask availability and other COVID prevention measures like air filtration and the use of far UV-C light, which can kill viruses, in government facilities, including jails. She also urged mask mandates in county medical facilities.

“We must expand availability of high quality, free tests and treatment,” she said. “And most importantly, the county must oppose mask bans for any reason. They do not keep us safer. They make more vulnerable members of our community less safe and make everyone less able to participate in Los Angeles together.”

Violet Affleck and Jennifer Garner are seen on May 18, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. Bellocqimages/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty Images

Affleck said COVID still “hits communities of color, disabled people, elderly people, trans people, women and anyone in a public-facing essential jobs the hardest.”

Her comments come at a time when COVID cases are once again on the rise in the U.S., particularly in western states.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, millions of Americans have experienced long COVID, also known as post-COVID syndrome or condition, which may include a continuation of symptoms similar to the original infection, like fatigue and shortness of breath, according to the Mayo Clinic, Symptoms can also include memory loss, generalized pain and orthostasis, decreased blood pressure when standing up or sitting down, and an array of other problems.

Mask mandates to prevent the spread of COVID were issued in cities across the U.S. at the height of the pandemic in 2020, but as cases went down, most places stopped requiring masks.

Recently, some cities have weighed proposals to ban masks — a development that concerns those who rely on masks to help prevent illness.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul backed the idea of a mask ban in New York City’s subway system aimed at criminals covering their faces — but with exceptions for people wearing masks for their health. A similar mask ban was proposed by a local alderman in Chicago earlier this month, and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass weighed a mask ban for protesters to make it easier to identify those who allegedly commit crimes, according to the Los Angeles Times.

California’s Division of Public Health rescinded its mask requirement for medical professionals in February when COVID cases receded. The state, however, said it could reverse course if the threat of COVID increases.

The department recommends those infected with COVID or who could have been exposed should still wear a mask, as well as people who are vulnerable to getting sick, like the elderly or those with medical conditions.

So-called strategic masking, or “wearing a mask where and when it might matter most,” can be an option for decreasing your risk of COVID, according to a 2023 report from Yale Medicine. The report recommends considering your personal risk, such as if you have a medical condition, live in a care facility, are elderly or pregnant, or if you are in a medical facility or a crowded place, when choosing whether or not to wear a mask.

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