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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday urged New Yorkers to cover their nose and mouth when they leave the house amid the coronavirus outbreak, reversing previous guidance that said only those who are sick or caring for the sick should wear masks.
“We’re advising New Yorkers to wear a face covering when you go outside and near other people,” de Blasio said at a press conference Thursday. “It can be a scarf, it can be something you create at home, it can be a bandana.”
“The reason for this guidance [is that] studies are showing that some asymptomatic people appear to be transmitting this disease,” de Blasio said, adding “there just wasn’t evidence” to support such guidance until now.
“When you put on that face covering, you’re protecting everyone else,” he said.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found those infected with coronavirus can spread the disease for one to three days before showing symptoms of the illness. The recent study conducted by researchers in Singapore found that somewhere around 10 percent of new infections may be spread by those who have yet to suffer the virus’ flu-like symptoms.
New York City now accounts for 47,439 cases and 1,374 deaths, not much less than a quarter of the United States' 216,722 cases and 5,137 deaths.
De Blasio’s guidance comes one day after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti urged Angelenos to wear non-medical masks when venturing outside.
“Early data suggests many who are infected are not symptomatic, which is why we are recommending you use cloth face coverings plus physical distancing for essential activities,” the mayor tweeted.
And residents of Laredo, Texas, may now be fined for failing to cover their face and nose when entering public places.
The Trump administration is expected to finalized new guidance recommending almost all Americans wear face coverings when leaving the home, according to The Associated Press.
On Tuesday, Trump indicated he would support such a recommendation. “I would say do it, but use a scarf if you want, you know, rather than going out and getting a mask or whatever.”
“It’s not a bad idea, at least for a period of time,” he added.
Fox News' Tamara Gitt contributed to this report.