A woman wearing a face mask skates along the bike path in Venice Beach on Saturday.
Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Topline: Los Angeles, California mayor Eric Garcetti recommended Wednesday that the city’s 4 million residents wear masks while outside the home, the latest in a series of measures taken by officials around the state—that came before guidance from the Trump administration on battling coronavirus—which some experts say is helping California “flatten the curve.”
- Garcetti encouraged people to wear homemade masks or tucked-in bandanas, but advised against medical-grade masks like N95 respirators, which are in short supply and desperately needed by healthcare workers.
- Garcetti said that the masks should be used only for essential trips outside the home, like to buy groceries, and that people should otherwise stay home.
- The Centers for Disease Control is weighing new recommendations for mask wearing by the general public, because new data shows a high rate of virus transmission from people with no symptoms.
- California had previously adopted strict measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission, like sheltering in place, before other states, like Louisiana, and before the Trump administration recommended them.
- Some experts say California’s quick action could be helping the state to “flatten the curve” as its rate of daily increase in deaths is slowing, while Louisiana’s is accelerating—even though California’s population is eight times bigger.
- “California, because they jumped on a little bit earlier, maybe they did a better job,” Drew Harris, a public health professor at Thomas Jefferson University told NBC News.
Crucial quote: “Californians should not have a false sense of security if they choose to wear [masks],” state Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly told ABC News. “Make sure you’re also staying six feet away from other people if you have to leave your home to get groceries or prescriptions.”
Big number: Nearly 10,000. That’s how many Californians have been infected by COVID-19, while at least 215 had died as of Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Louisiana has around 7,000 confirmed cases, but a higher death toll: 273.
Key background: There is no universal consensus on mask wearing, the Washington Post reported Monday. The CDC, along with the World Health Organization, has previously recommended that those caring for sick relatives wear masks, along with those who are already ill and around other people. According to the New York Times, masks work by stopping infected droplets from the wearer’s nose and mouth, and if everyone wears a mask, it reduces overall community transmission. “The value of the mask isn’t necessarily to protect you from getting sick, although it may offer some protection,” said former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb Sunday, adding, “It’s to protect you from other people. So when someone who’s infected is wearing a mask, they’re much less likely to transmit infection.”