Are face masks going to become like condoms — ubiquitous, sometimes fashionable, promoted with public service announcements? They should be, one virus researcher says, if early indications are correct in suggesting that the coronavirus is often spread by people who feel healthy and show no symptoms.
“Face masks are a barrier method that might also need to be worn consistently and correctly to prevent transmission of this virus,” David O’Connor, who studies viral disease at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote in an email.
He said it was time to “normalize face masks, and fast.”
States are now following that guidance, as New Yorkers now walk behind their own personal barriers. A population known for big mouths pulled on a newly essential accessory and ventured into a landscape that changed yet again on Friday when, as of 8 p.m., a new order from the governor mandated the wearing of masks in public.
As part of his latest measures to contain the coronavirus, which has killed more than 12,000 people in the state and infected more than 200,000, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo rolled out the executive order this week.
Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are requiring that masks be worn in stores; likewise in Los Angeles and some surrounding California counties. New York’s order is the most expansive, requiring face coverings anywhere in the state where two people might come within two yards of each other, though for now, there is no fine for disobeying.
“Nobody likes it, but we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do,” said Amanda Neville, 43, inside her wine store in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.