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NYC Health Department Is Urging Residents to Put Their Masks Back On...But It's Not Just Because of Covid

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

The New York City Health Department is urging residents to put their face masks back on after a patient in the city tested positive for Orthopoxvirus, with officials waiting to confirm whether it is monkeypox.


“Masks can protect against monkeypox, as well as other viruses circulating in New York City, such as COVID-19,” the health department said. “The Department continues to recommend masks in public indoor settings. As a precaution, any New Yorkers who experience flu-like illness with swelling of the lymph nodes and rashes on the face and body should contact their health care provider.”

While rare, Monkeypox outbreaks are being reported in nearly a dozen countries. The United States currently has two reported cases of the virus that can spread through close contact with an infected individual. “This includes via respiratory droplets — usually after prolonged contact — body fluids or other forms of close contact, such as sharing clothes or other materials that have been used by someone who is infectious,” according to NYC Health. 

Dr. Mark Siegel called the idea to bring back masks for monkeypox “ridiculous.” 


“Overreaction causes as much damage as the virus,” he told Fox News’s Lawrence Jones. “It is one thing for us to talk about it. It is another for everybody out there to suddenly become hyper-vigilant. We already had two years of that, let’s not do it again."

President Biden took a more cautious approach, telling reporters on his way from South Korea to Japan that "everybody should be concerned."

“They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it is something that everybody should be concerned about,” he said. "We’re working hard to figure out what we do and what vaccine, if any, may be available for it. But it is a concern in the sense that if it were to spread, it’s consequential. That’s all they have told me.”

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