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As an unprecedented wave of coronavirus infections washes over the region, Los Angeles County health officials are urging residents to postpone nonessential gatherings and avoid some activities — especially those with people who are unmasked, unvaccinated or at higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness.

The ask comes just ahead of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend. The Lunar New Year is also right around the corner on Feb. 1, and the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood is a month away.

Speaking to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer acknowledged that “this is not the start to the new year we had all envisioned.”

But given the state of the pandemic, health officials are “asking that, over the next few weeks, we all try to avoid nonessential activities where people are unmasked and in close contact with others,” she said.

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