SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5)– After weeks of public health officials saying it was not necessary for people who weren’t possibly sick to wear a mask, the new recommendation from doctors for everyone to cover their faces when in public was quickly adopted by many.

“If you cover your face, you are protecting other people around you. We know now that people may be contagious before they have symptoms or that people with coronavirus may get only mildly sick. You could be one of those people, I could be one of those people,” said Dr. Susan Philip of the San Francisco Department of Public Health in a news conference.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The recommendation on masks came first from state and local health officials Thursday. The Centers for Disease Control followed with their own recommendation after a study found viral RNA floating in the air inside the hospital rooms of coronavirus patients.

“If all of us were to wear protective coverings of our mouth and nose, it’s not that we would be protected from others, but others would be protected  from us. If we’re all in this together and we all wear those kinds of coverings, we stand a good chance of interrupting some frequency of the unknowing transmission,” said Dr. Harvey Fineberg.

Around San Francisco, there were more masks worn than usual, even as people waited outside Safeway. Lewis Miller picked up a mask Friday morning at an Ace Hardware for $40.

“I feel that we need to keep ourselves safe and protected. This is not a joke. We’re lucky that this isn’t New York,” Miller told KPIX 5.

Wearing masks is still just a recommendation and not a requirement though. It should be noted that many people, especially in San Francisco, have been face masks in public for weeks regardless of the recommendations of health officials

“I’m keeping my six feet distance and not going into crowded areas. And with the mask, you end up touching the mask, you end up touching this, you end up taking the mask off,” said Alex Miller.

With the recommendation, also came a plea: don’t rush out and buy N-95 masks. Those need to be saved for frontline healthcare workers and first responders.

“A made-at-home cloth mask, a towel, a bandana, a scarf; anything that will absorb droplets is just fine,” said Dr. Philip.

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