SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Residents in Los Angeles and Riverside, California are being urged to wear masks or some sort of face covering when they’re out in public.
Officials in Laredo, Texas took it a step further this week by making it an order. Residents must cover their nose and mouth when entering a building that’s not their home, and those who refuse face a fine of $1,000. It doesn’t have to be a mask. They can use a bandana or scarf, as long as it covers their mouth and nose.
KTSA News asked Mayor Ron Nirenberg if he would consider a similar order in San Antonio.
“We will absolutely look at that, and if it’s beneficial to public health, we will start to issue guidance to that effect, but right now, our concern with PPE (personal protective equipment) and face masks is that we’ve got enough for the first responders and the health care workers. Those are the folks who need it the most right now,” said Nirenberg.
His Public Health Emergency Declarations thus far, have followed guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Up to this point, the CDC has not recommended use of masks by the general public unless the individual is sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to save N95 and surgical masks for health care professionals and emergency responders
Now the CDC is expected to recommend that people wear cloth masks, based on evidence that individuals walking around with no symptoms may actually be spreading the novel coronavirus. According to memos obtained by the Washington Post, the CDC will recommend that the community use cloth masks as an additional public health measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Some health officials worry that wearing a face mask may give people a false sense of security, leading them to believe that it may keep them from catching the virus
At a White House briefing Thursday, Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the virus response, said social distancing is the key to preventing the spread of the disease, and she pleaded with Americans to follow those guidelines “to a tee.” She said it’s the most important step we can take to stop the spread.