HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - If you aren’t already wearing a mask, experts say now’s the time to do it.
On Thursday, Honolulu’s mayor asked residents on Oahu to wear cloth masks whenever they go iout.
Dr. Darragh O’Carroll, of Kuakini Medical Center, explained why they're important.
“Up to 20% of people will never ever exhibit any symptoms. And they’ll be unknowingly shedding particles as they walk throughout our communities," he said.
With nearly 250,000 people infected nationwide, reports say the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention will soon start urging all Americans to wear masks.
Honolulu’s mayor is pleading with the public to embrace this new reality..
“It’s a recommendation,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. "A very, very strong recommendation that everyone on this island, when you go out in public, please wear a mask that you’ve either acquired or made that’s not an N-95 mask or a surgical mask.”
Those N-95s and surgical masks should be reserved for medical workers. Experts say for the rest of us a thick cloth will work.
Kauai's mayor posted a tutorial online showing how to make one with a pair of scissors.
“This is a way that someone like me doesn’t know how to sew, can actually do it," said Mayor Derek Kawakami.
Experts say you should have several masks. Wash them daily with soap and hot water. Be sure to wash your hands before putting them on.
"This is not a cure-all,” said Dr. O’Carroll. “It’s not going to flatten this curve and take it all the way down. But it is going to help flatten this curve.”