New York City will distribute 7.5 million free face masks to city residents in a bid to further prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.
The embattled city has led the U.S. in confirmed cases and deaths, with a total of 174,331 cases and 18,925 fatalities citywide, per Johns Hopkins data.
Gov. Anthony Cuomo (D) has led the state’s fight against the virus and signed an executive order in mid-April requiring all residents wear face coverings in public.
In a press conference, de Blasio confirmed that the city will distribute 5 million three-ply nonmedical face coverings across the city, in addition to another 2.5 million cloth face masks. They will be handed out at locations like grocery stores, parks and food service locations.
Notably, the face coverings distributed by the city will not be medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPE), which is reserved for health care and frontline workers. De Blasio noted that he will be sending more than 1.9 million surgical masks to nursing homes within the city’s five boroughs.
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