Health and Science

New York City to give away 7.5 million face coverings to prevent coronavirus spread, mayor says

Key Points
  • New York City will distribute 7.5 million free cloth and non-medical face coverings immediately to further prevent the spread of Covid-19, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. 
  • The city will distribute 5 million three-ply non-medical masks and 2.5 million cloth face coverings citywide, including at grocery stores, parks, meal sites and other city locations, he said. 
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New York City will give away 7.5M face coverings to halt coronavirus spread

New York City will distribute 7.5 million free cloth and non-medical face coverings immediately to further prevent the spread of Covid-19, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday. 

New Yorkers have overwhelmingly complied with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order requiring all residents to wear face coverings when in public, de Blasio said at his daily press briefing. 

To further comply with the order and prevent the spread of the virus, the city will distribute 5 million three-ply non-medical masks and 2.5 million cloth face coverings citywide, including at grocery stores, parks, meal sites and other city locations. 

"Wherever you turn, you're going to be offered a face covering, and it's going to be on an ongoing basis for weeks to come to make sure everyone has what they need," de Blasio said. 

The face coverings will not be the same as the city's health-care workers use but are still effective as long as they remain dry, de Blasio said. 

He added that for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak in March, the city will have enough personal protective equipment this upcoming week for its hospitals. De Blasio also said he is sending more than 1.9 million surgical masks to nursing homes across the five boroughs. 

"We can finally ensure for the whole week ahead that every hospital and every nursing home will get what they need," de Blasio said. 

People receive protective masks and bandannas as they are handed out in Prospect Park as face coverings become mandatory in many establishments on May 03, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images

All three indicators the city uses to track the spread of Covid-19 were down on Monday, de Blasio said. The daily number of people admitted to the hospital for suspected Covid-19 dipped below 100, and the number of people currently in New York City Health and Hospitals' intensive care stood at 632, down from 645 people as of May 1, he said. 

Approximately 17% of people citywide tested positive for Covid-19, down from 20%. 

"This is the kind of day we had been waiting for, and it's a beautiful thing. Let's put together some more like it, and that's our pathway to something better," de Blasio said. 

The city has been conducting about 13,000 tests per day, which is "definitely progress" compared with weeks prior, de Blasio said. While there are still a "substantial number of new cases each day," he said that the city is starting to see the numbers decline as testing capacity increases. 

"I think it means the strategies are working, that we're going to stick to them, and that we're only going to let up very carefully and in a very steady fashion to not allow that resurgence or that boomerang," de Blasio said. 

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