Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is advising people in his city to wear some sort of face covering in public.
The issue of who should wear face masks and when has become hotly debated, especially due to potential shortages of personal protective equipment for frontline medical workers.
"Los Angeles is a leader in responding to this global crisis, and that’s why I want to share the latest guidance from public health experts on how you can help protect yourself and those around you from infection. As we learn more about this virus, we will continue to update our guidance so we don’t just flatten the curve, but get ahead of it," Garcetti said.
"Early data suggests that many who are infected with Covid-19 do not have symptoms, which is why everyone should wear cloth face coverings when leaving the house for essential activities. However, a face covering is not a substitute for other critical measures -- most importantly, staying home as much as possible, washing hands frequently, and practicing safe physical distancing in all settings."
The city's guidance can be found here
US public health officials at first advised against wearing masks, but may be shifting course. On Monday, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Robert Redfield, told NPR that his organization was reviewing its guidelines and may recommend general mask use to guard against community infection. President Trump said the government plans to release new recommendations on face masks in the coming days.
The World Health Organization has refrained from advising the general public from wearing masks. Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for the WHO's Covid-19 response, chimed in on the current debate about when to wear face masks and who should be wearing them at CNN's coronavirus town hall Thursday.
She said the organization currently recommends that people who are ill or caring for the sick wear normal medical masks, while the more efficient N95s should be saved for frontline health-care workers. The WHO is studying other options, like whether the general public should use scarves to cover themselves.
"We have to prioritize the use of masks for frontline workers, if that is one thing I can stress," Van Kerkhove said. "Medical masks, respirators, gloves, gowns, these are people who are putting their lives on the line to help us, to care for other people and they must be protected," she said.
Read more about the face mask debate here: