New York Launches National Ad Campaign to Promote Masks

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New York, once the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak, has a message for the rest of America: Wear a mask.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo launched a national ad campaign Thursday to urge Americans to wear face coverings in public to stop the spread of the virus.

The campaign, titled “Mask Up America,” was co-produced by Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow and features celebrities such as Robert De Niro, Jamie Foxx, Rosie Perez and Ellen Pompeo.

“We want to be sure all Americans know what we know here -- that it is essential to wear a mask in order to protect one another,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The ad campaign, which was created in partnership with the Ad Council, includes eight 30-second spots that will air across the country on donated media.

In one ad, images of people wearing masks appear on the screen while the actor Morgan Freeman says, “When you wear a mask, you have my respect.

“Because your mask doesn’t protect you, it protects me,” Freeman says. “I wear my mask to protect you. Be New York tough. Mask up, America.”

In addition to the political benefit of raising the governor’s national profile, Cuomo’s public-policy rationale for the ad campaign is rooted in his repeatedly expressed concern that high infection rates in other states could bring about the virus’s return to New York. He’s imposed a two-week quarantine on travelers from more than 20 states upon entering New York, requiring them to give personal contact information, and warning that violators could face a $2,000 fine.

The ad campaign arrives as many people still refuse to wear face coverings in public, despite health experts saying it can slow the spread of the virus.

The commercials also debut with the number of Covid-19 cases surging in states such as Texas and Florida, the latter of which tallied a record 156 new Covid deaths in one day in a report on Thursday. Meanwhile, New York has seen its virus cases decline. New York City reached a new milestone Sunday, reporting its first day with zero confirmed or probable virus deaths since the pandemic hit.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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