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April 1, 2020, 9:57 p.m. EDT

Los Angeles mayor urges everyone to wear masks to battle coronavirus

Leave N95 masks for health workers, Garcetti says, but wear bandanas or homemade masks while shopping

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By Associated Press

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“When the situation changes, the rule book changes,” Kaiser said in a news release. “We’re seeing our numbers increasing even sooner than we predicted, and that means our strategy must change too.”

U.S. and global health authorities have said people who are not health care workers shouldn’t wear a mask unless they’re sick — to prevent infecting others.

The World Health Organization recommended people caring for a sick relative wear a mask. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agreed — as long as the person who was ill was not able to wear a mask.

But there has been some conflicting direction. Austria said this week it would require masks for grocery shoppers. President Donald Trump suggested people who are worried should wear a scarf.

California’s public health officer, Dr. Sonia Angell, said face coverings could prevent the spread of the virus, but if worn incorrectly or handled improperly could lead to infection. They could also lead people to let down their guard and not stay the recommended distance of 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from others.

“When we speak about the potential downfalls, which we also must acknowledge, they can be that if people have these masks on, they feel somewhat immune, they feel like they can get closer to other people,” Angell said.

The spread of the virus statewide has, so far, been slow enough to give the state time to prepare for an expected spike in cases that could overwhelm hospitals if extreme measures aren’t taken to keep most people home and away from others.

The state had more than 9,300 virus cases and 199 deaths reported Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is keeping a global tally.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Newsom has been talking in the past week about increasing hospital beds in the state by two-thirds to add 50,000 new beds at locations that could include convention centers and arenas to cope with peak demand next month. On Wednesday, he increased that number.

“Modeling shows we’ll need roughly 66,000 beds towards the end of May,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, said at a news conference with the governor.

Newsom had bad news for parents Wednesday when he said schools should plan to teach from afar for the rest of the academic year.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond provided similar guidance to districts Tuesday evening. The decision on whether students will return to the classroom will ultimately be up to school districts.

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