New York officials support covering face in public

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New York state health officials now say they support people wearing cloth face coverings when they go out in public, especially in areas of “significant community transmission.” …

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New York state health officials now say they support people wearing cloth face coverings when they go out in public, especially in areas of “significant community transmission.”

NEW YORK — New York state health officials now say they support people covering their faces in public, while New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city needs more coronavirus testing capacity.

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FACE COVERINGS ADVISED

New York state health officials now say they support people wearing cloth face coverings when they go out in public, especially in areas of “significant community transmission.”

The administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo had previously said it wasn’t clear on whether face masks are effective.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention already recommends cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, as do New York City officials.

The state’s guidance released Wednesday cites recent studies about the significant number of asymptomatic individuals with COVID-19 who are spreading the virus by even just speaking near others.

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‘IF WE REALLY WORK HARD’

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that New York City needs continued social distancing plus more conoravirus testing capacity to reach a point where the loosening of restrictions could be considered.

“If we really work hard we have a chance of seeing change in May or June,” de Blasio said at a City Hall briefing.

Most New Yorkers are adhering to health guidelines banning public gatherings but anyone who sees someone flouting the rules should report it through the city’s 311 call system, de Blasio said.

“Don’t be angry, just pick on the phone,” he said. “Act on it.”

Starting Monday, the city will release ongoing data on three key virus indicators: the number of people admitted to hospitals and suspected of having COVID-19, the number of hospitalizations for the disease and the number of intensive care unit admissions for the disease, de Blasio said.

All three numbers would have to go down in unison for 10 days to two weeks before the city could consider loosening social distancing restrictions, he said.

But in order to contemplate returning to anything approaching normalcy, he said, the city would also need to be able to test more people for the virus.

“We need some greater capacity,” he said. “I think the federal government is still the most important part of this equation when it comes to testing.”

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