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City Will Give 1 Million Masks To Residents, And Lightfoot Predicts We Could Wear Them Rest Of The Year

Face coverings and masks can prevent people from unknowingly transmitting coronavirus to others.

Dr. Anton Rittling, DC, smiles with a mask on outside of his office in the Lincoln Square neighborhood on Monday, April 27, 2020. Starting May 1.
Colin Boyle/ Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — The city will soon give residents 1 million masks — and it’s prioritizing getting them to people in need, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

The state’s new stay at home order kicks in Friday, and with it comes a requirement almost everyone in the state wear a mask or face covering when in public and unable to practice social distancing.

Lightfoot said the city has passed out masks throughout the crisis, but it’s now working to get more that will be distributed to residents — and it’s particularly focused on getting them to “residents of need.”

“I don’t believe in issuing mandates and not giving people the tools to be compliant,” Lightfoot said at a Thursday press conference. “As a city, we are stepping up and we will be making sure our residents have the kind of face coverings they need to be able to protect themselves when they go outside of their homes and can’t safely social distance … .”

At least some of those masks will be given to the city’s 50 aldermen to share with their constituents, Lightfoot said.

In a similar move earlier this week, businessman Willie Wilson donated 1 million masks to aldermen, who are now passing them out to residents of their wards.

Lightfoot predicted Chicagoans will need face coverings — which can prevent the spread of coronavirus — into next year, and she said she wants to ensure people have access to them.

“We’re gonna be living with masks for the duration,” Lightfoot said. “I see that happening certainly over the course of the summer and the fall and maybe even until next year before we see a vaccine come online.”

Scientists have discovered people can spread coronavirus even if they don’t have symptoms and don’t realize they have the virus.

In response, the Centers for Disease Control has advised people to wear face coverings or masks in public spaces, like stores, where they can’t practice social distancing.

Face coverings and masks can prevent people from unknowingly transmitting coronavirus to others since COVID-19 spreads through droplets, like those that come out of your mouth and nose when you sneeze and cough.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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