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For many this year, the Fourth of July marks a special independence day — one free of coronavirus restrictions after 15 months and with a sense that a new post-pandemic normal is at hand.

Across the nation, businesses are open, crowds are gathering, masks are coming off and, for the vaccinated at least, much of the fear of contracting COVID-19 is fading.

But in Los Angeles County, a sudden rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations has put a damper on the holiday spirit.

L.A. County public health officials are breaking with many other health departments, asking even inoculated residents to modify their behavior amid a concerning uptick in coronavirus transmission and the circulation of the highly contagious Delta variant.

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