NEW YORK - New Yorkers have been urged by Mayor Bill de Blasio to wear face coverings when out in public, but one health expert says things like bandannas and scarves can only do so much to help stop the spread of the virus.
"It's not protecting you that much," said Dr. Mehmet Oz during FOX 5 NY morning program 'Good Day New York. "It's not as good as a surgical mask or an N95 mask, but it's better than nothing."
There are more than 52,000 cases of coronavirus in New York City and more than 1,500 deaths have been reported.
De Blasio said N95 respirators and surgical masks should be reserved for health care workers. He did, however, encourage the use of other face coverings like bandanas and scarves.
Dr. Oz agrees.
"I like to use a bandanna that you fashion in to some sort of a face covering. As long you don't think it gives you sense of ... like a shield," said Dr. Oz.
The scarf and bandana does not need to be washed every day.
"It's primarily your spit. If you don't have a wet day, then you don't need to," said Dr. Oz.
And, very important to remember, don't play with your face covering.
"You get your fingers in your face and then you contaminate yourself,' said Dr. Oz.
NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zukcer echoed similar sentiments during Gov. Andrew Cuomo's daily coronavirus briefing on Friday.
"There is no data to support the effectiveness of face masks," said Dr. Zucker. "I understand that usually we like to base things on evidence. I know that in difficult times like this we have to go with expert opinion. Right now there is no date to suggest whether masks except for those who are ill or who are health care workers which is why we're reserving those for health care workers. There is no evidence to support face masks made of cloth or the general public using them."