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Cover your face: New York City issues new coronavirus recommendation

But don’t wear a medical mask, de Blasio says

April 3, 2020 Mary Frost

The New York City Department of Health is now recommending that all residents wear face coverings when venturing outside or near others who might carry the novel coronavirus.

Non-health professionals should use bandanas or make their own masks, DOH says. The city is trying to preserve actual surgical masks and the higher quality N95 masks for health professionals dealing with COVID-19 patients, who have overwhelmed the city’s hospitals.

This is a change from the city’s previous advice that masks were not necessary for healthy people, and is based on evidence that there can be asymptomatic transmission of the virus. Members of the public in China, Singapore and Hong Kong have been wearing masks since the outbreak began to slow the spread of the disease, and it appears to have had an effect.

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“A set of studies have come in just in the last few days, most especially one from Singapore, which is a place that handled this crisis very well,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe radio show on Friday. “For the first time, our medical leadership here in the city increasingly sees evidence that there could be that asymptomatic transmission. There’s not been real evidence in their view of that before.”

The mayor said the face coverings might slow down the spread of coronavirus by people who are not even aware they have it as they go shopping or get exercise.

“It’s a face covering. It could be a scarf, a bandana, anything … The idea is to help make sure that all of us don’t accidentally spread it to someone else because we might have it, we might be asymptomatic, not even know,” de Blasio said.

He added, “This does not mean take those surgical masks or the N95 masks away from our first responders or our healthcare personnel. No, that is sacred. They need it. They are protecting all of us. Anyone can make a face covering at home.“

New York City still mandates people maintain a distance of six feet or farther from one another, even when wearing a face covering, and continue to stay home as much as possible.



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