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The Covid-19 Pandemic

by Mark Reutter4:58 pmApr 15, 20200

Baltimore’s mayor encourages, not demands, face coverings by citizens

A new policy that endorses the wearing of cloth masks in public

Above: “I can’t just sit in the house,” volunteer Jim Johnson says, at Liberty Rec & Tech Center. (Louis Krauss)

Two days after the City Council recommended it and a few minutes before Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued a similar mandate, Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young today asked city residents to wear cloth masks or other facial coverings “as much as possible” when outside their homes.

The executive order “endorses,” rather than demands, such wearings until the governor terminates his state of emergency.

Young asks citizens to be “especially mindful of wearing masks when entering grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies and retail food stores” and also to wear masks “when you interact with delivery personnel.”

The order further “advises” public and private employers to develop internal policies regarding face coverings “that promote the health and safety of their employees when in the workplace.”

The policy goes into effect immediately. There are no penalties for failing to follow it.
• Coronavirus cases today climbed in Baltimore City to 1,060 cases, with 25 deaths and 2 probable (as-yet-unconfirmed) deaths. Totals in Baltimore County were: 1,485 cases, 27 deaths and 5 probable deaths.

BREAKING: The largest outbreak of COVID-19 is in a  Baltimore nursing home.

Cautious Steps

Young’s action follows orders by other local governments ordering face masks in Washington, D.C., Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County and Prince George’s County, all aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Young’s order is a watered-down version of public distancing recommendations unanimously passed by the City Council on Monday. They called for masking not only inside business establishments but also while riding public transportation, and asked the mayor to require city employees to wear masks while on public property.

Young says residents need not wear N95 or surgical masks required of medical personnel, but can follow CDC guidelines using handmade coverings fashioned from bandanas, washcloths, scarfs and other household items.

Making Your Own

Because the purpose of the coverings is to reduce human-to-human transmission of the virus, the masks should:

• fit snugly against the side of the face, secured with ear loops or ties.

• include multiple layers of fabric.

• be able to be laundered in a washing machine.

The coverings should be washed regularly between uses.

Users should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth when removing the coverings and should refrain from pushing the coverings over their chins or mouths, which could permit the aerial transmission of the virus.

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