A woman wears a mask and gloves while carrying toilet paper across the street in San Francisco, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Officials in seven San Francisco Bay Area counties have issued a shelter-in-place mandate affecting about 7 million people, including the city of San Francisco itself. The order says residents must stay inside and venture out only for necessities for three weeks starting Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
A lot of people are talkin’ ’bout masks.
In late February, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told Americans not to buy them. To be clear, he was apparently trying to free up much-needed protection for healthcare workers. But not long after, Jerome also warned that, for regular folks, wearing a mask could actually help spread the virus (see more here).
Yet, on March 30th, John Hopkins Center for Health Security Director Thomas Inglesby sung a different tune to The Washington Post:
“I think it would be a prudent step we can all take to reduce transmission…”
The virus, as it turns out, has a considerable rate of asymptomatic carriers — up to 25%.
Therefore, University of Washington in Seattle infectious disease expert Dr. Carl Bergstrom thinks masking the problem is a good idea:
“We can’t assume that any of us are not potential vectors at any time. This is why even though I’m feeling great, and have felt great and haven’t been exposed to anybody with any symptoms of anything, that’s why it would be irresponsible of me to go out and about today.”
Previously, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that only people who are feeling sick should cover themselves, but now that recommendation, as per CDC President Robert Redfield, is “being critically reviewed.”
And Dr. Anthony Fauci — Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — had this to say to The New York Times, as published March 31st:
“When we get in a situation where we have enough masks, I believe there will be some very serious consideration about more broadening [of guidelines, including the wearing of masks]. We’re not there yet.”
Well, call Laredo, Texas ahead of the curve.
On Tuesday, the city council issued an amended emergency ordinance requiring residents over the age of five to sport face coverings.
Those may include a “homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief,” and they’ve gotta be donned when “entering into or inside of any building open to the public; when using public transportation, taxis, or ride shares; or when pumping gas.”
Also part of the order: All must abide by a daily curfew.
a) A curfew for all persons aged 17 and under to be imposed from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
b) A curfew for all persons aged 18 and over to be imposed from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., unless that person is out for an emergency, or to perform certain Essential Activities, or to perform or obtain services from Essential Businesses, Government Functions or services, or Critical Infrastructure…
There are noted exceptions.
Concerning the curfew:
Those who must work during those hours will be exempt from this ordinance, but must show proof such as an I.D. or a letter from their employer. Laredo police officers will be enforcing this ordinance and may use their discretion.
As for masks:
This Section shall not apply to person that are: engaging in a permissible outside physical activity; that are riding in a personal vehicle; that are in alone in a separate single space; that are with their own shelter group (household members); when doing so poses a greater health, safety or security risk; or for consumption purposes.
Violators may be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $1,000.
As of the time of this writing, Texas has 4,639 COVID-19 active cases (4,823 total). Number of deaths from the illness: 77.
By contrast, New York is looking at 93,053 total, 83,081 active, and 2,538 deaths.
Laredo seems serious about not becoming the Big Apple of Texas.
What do you think of the town’s move? The extension of the Mayor’s Emergency Order is in effect ’til April 30th.
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