New Yorkers Should Cover Faces While Outside Home, Mayor Says

(Bloomberg) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio is encouraging New Yorkers to cover their faces whenever they venture out from their homes, a possible preview of a nationwide advisory to come from the White House.

De Blasio, in his daily briefing on the coronavirus outbreak, urged New Yorkers in the nation’s virus epicenter to make their own face covers using items of clothing. Public officials have hesitated to make such advisories because of a shortage of medical masks for health care workers.

The White House is likely to recommend that people living in hotspots like New York and New Jersey cover their faces in public, Bloomberg News reported earlier, as new research shows that the pathogen may hang in the air after people sneeze, cough or even talk.

The city’s health commissioner, Oxiris Barbot, recommended cloth face coverings such as old bandannas or a scarf that covers the mouth and nose, use it for a day and then wash it in soap and water and make sure it’s completely dry. Paper may also be used as long as it’s kept clean and dry, she said.

“These face coverings are not a substitution for all the other layers of prevention,” such as practicing social distancing from others, frequently washing your hands and using hand sanitizer, Barbot said.

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