The mayor of Los Angeles urged four million residents to wear masks to combat the coronavirus when they walk out in public, even as state health officials shied away from requiring a coverup.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday as he donned a black cloth mask to make a point, “Homemade cloth masks, or even a “tucked-in bandanna,” will help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the nation’s second-largest city and remind people to practice safe social distancing. I know this looks surreal,” Garcetti said. “We’re going to have to get used to seeing each other like this … This will be the look.”

The mayor did express for people to stay away from using medical-grade masks, such as N95 or surgical masks, which are in short supply and needed for health care workers and first responders. Garcetti also said people should only use masks when they are going out to shop for food or perform other essential tasks. However, it is not an excuse to just go out.


The 40 million people of the state of California are under state and local orders to stay at home except when performing essential tasks. Health experts have said that is the best way to slow the spread of the virus, which as of Wednesday had infected nearly 10,000 Californians and caused 215 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is keeping a global tally.

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.

Los Angeles County reported more than 500 new cases on Wednesday, a 17% hike over the previous day.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has said the number of COVID-19 cases in California is expected to peak in late May.