De Blasio urges all New Yorkers to wear homemade masks, cites new study

Screengrab CNBC

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is now telling residents to cover their mouth and nose with homemade cloth masks when they go outside, a suggestion that extends to children as well.

Speaking Thursday at a press briefing, the far-left Democrat cited a Singapore study that suggested asymptomatic carriers of the Chinese virus COVID-19 may be adding more to the spread of the disease than previously thought, according to Daily Mail.

“We’re advising New Yorkers to wear a face-covering when you go outside and near other people,” Mayor de Blasio said. “It can be a scarf, it can be something you create at home it can be a bandana.”

New York is the epicenter of the American coronavirus outbreak with 92,381 confirmed cases as of Thursday evening, along with 2,468 deaths. New York City has nearly 52,000 cases, and the death toll has topped 1,500.

(Nationwide, there are reportedly more than 226,000 cases of coronavirus.)

The mayor said he spoke with President Donald Trump earlier in the day, telling reporters he called for establishing a national enlistment of medical professionals, or anyone with medical training at all, to deploy them to major outbreak hot spots, the Daily Mail reported.

The suggestion of homemade masks coming amid a shortage of surgical masks and other medical-grade masks for the medical community.

“When you think of masks, you think of what our health care workers and first responders need and those precious supplies that we’re bringing in, those PPEs, that’s for them and all those people at the front line who need it,” de Blasio said.

President Donald Trump has recommended the use of scarves as protection against the coronavirus, saying they are “highly recommended by the professionals.”

“Depending on the fabric, I think in a certain way, a scarf is better,” the president said.

Naturally, when Trump made the suggestion, CNBC ran with this headline: “Doctors say Trump’s idea to ‘use a scarf’ to protect against coronavirus is unproven.”

Falling back on the Singapore study, de Blasio had no regrets about not issuing the order sooner, explaining: “The last 48 hours really is when our health leadership, our health department, has gotten the information and analyzed the information and provided this specific proposal so it’s literally just in the last days.”

He said this was “the first time in the past days that studies that show asymptomatic transmissions were published.”

“There was a real concern all along,” de Blasio insisted. “But we were focusing people on the most important things, the basic hygiene, social distancing, to make sure we did not send the message that would make people overconfident in the worst way.”

“Face covering just part of it,” he added.

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot echoed the mayor’s direction.

“For individuals who may be at the very, very beginning of an illness and don’t know it, to ensure they don’t transmit to other people,” she said, according to the Daily Mail.

The masks can also serve as “a reminder” for people to keep a distance of six feet with anyone they come in contact with, according to Barbot.

“I recommend a cloth covering like a bandanna, a scarf,” she said, “But it’s important that it covers the nose and the mouth.

Residents were encouraged to have more than one mask and to hand wash them.

“It should be used for a day and then you can hand wash them in soap and water,” Barbot said. “The important thing is that they dry completely, so have more than one face covering so you can alternate them.”

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Tom Tillison

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