Mayor Bill de Blasio has urged all New York City residents to wear face masks when they go out in public—even if they have to make the masks themselves. "It doesn’t have to be fancy to work. It can be real homegrown," the mayor said Thursday, stressing that New Yorkers can use a scarf or bandanna instead of seeking out the medical-grade masks that health workers need. The mayor said the city didn't issue the advice until now because the Health Department only recently concluded that they would help stop the spread of the coronavirus, Politico reports. "For the first time in just the last days there have been studies that actually started to show some meaningful evidence about asymptomatic transmission," the mayor said.
"When you put on that face covering, you’re protecting everyone else," de Blasio said. "A lot of people out there, right this minute, don’t even know they have it." Los Angeles issued similar guidance on Monday, with Mayor Eric Garcetti advising people to wear masks for necessary trips outside, but warning that "face coverings are only effective together with safe physical distancing, so this is not an excuse to get close to each other," the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The Washington Post reports that the White House is also expected to recommend that Americans wear masks in public, though the guidance may be limited to areas with high rates of community transmission. "I don't think it will be mandatory," President Trump said Thursday. "If people want to wear them, they can." (Read more New York City stories.)