New York asks people to cover their faces outdoors

(New York) New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday asked city residents to cover their faces when leaving their homes, a first in the city worst affected by the coronavirus in the United States.

Posted on April 2, 2020 at 7:29 p.m.

Updated at 20:34

France Media Agency

“It can be a scarf, something you made at home, a bandana”, explained the city councilor during a press briefing, but it “does not have to be a professional mask”.

On the contrary, he hammered, “we do not want you to use the masks that emergency personnel and caregivers need”, and which it is not certain that they could be available in sufficient quantity. until the end of the pandemic.

New York has recorded 1,562 deaths from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, according to figures released late Thursday by city health officials, and is approaching 50,000 positive cases (49,707).

The mayor explained that the decision to ask residents to cover their faces was made based on a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the national health authority in the United States.

This study highlights cases of transmission of the virus in Singapore by asymptomatic people.

The study indicates that transmission could notably occur through breathing alone.

“It has been shown that speech and other vocal activities, such as singing, can generate particles in the air, with a propensity related to the sound level,” explain the authors of the study, published Wednesday.

This is a turnaround for the authorities, who have long indicated, based on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC that it is not necessary to wear a mask, unless presented symptoms of coronavirus.

During the daily White House press briefing, Vice President Mike Pence said the CDC would be issuing an opinion on the face covering in the coming days.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, did not clearly give instructions to protect his face, leaving the choice to the Americans.

“I don’t think it will be compulsory,” he said of the recommendations given by some local elected officials, “because some don’t want to. ”

“We don’t want people to feel artificially protected,” warned Dr Deborah Birx, in charge of coordinating the fight against the coronavirus at the White House.

“It is a complement”, to the recommendations already made, namely social distancing and frequent hand washing, explained the manager.

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