Huwag maging pasaway: Wearing a mask in public is now a state order in all of California

LISTEN! The coronavirus is NOT done with the United States, no matter how much President Donald Trump would want you to believe in March that it would disappear by the spring. It will officially be summer this June 21 and COVID-19 remains to be a threat to people all over the world.

Many states have already re-opened, some earlier than others but vary in the conditions to move from one phase to another. As social distancing requirements relax and with the summer break, hot weather and holidays, confirmed cases in the country have been reported to continue to go up in many states.

And no matter how Trump and his minions in the Republican Party and fans all across the country try to discredit social distancing measure and politicize the use of a mask/face covering to mitigate the spread of the virus, the sad fact remains the disease is spreading.

In fact, eight states are seeing their highest seven-day averages of new coronavirus cases per day since the crisis began, a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University reveal. This data includes new cases reported by Johns Hopkins through Thursday, June 18.

Here are alarming rates as reported by CNN:

“For the second consecutive day, Florida announced a record number of new coronavirus cases Friday, adding almost 4,000 reports for a total approaching 90,000.

That broke the previous record set just Thursday, when 3,207 reports were added, according to the state Health Department.

The Sunshine State has “all the markings of the next large epicenter of coronavirus transmission,” and risks being the “worst it has ever been,” according to projections from a model by scientists at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania.”

Aside from Florida, spikes in cases have been recorded in other states: Arizona, California, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

In the state of California, home to the most number of Filipinos in America and outside of the Philippines, COVID-19 cases have gone up in Southern California, in Los Angeles County especially, more than areas in Northern California.

As the preventative orders differ from county to county, California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a state order on Thursday, June 18: Californians must wear masks in all indoor public spaces under a mandate designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Based on new findings regarding the transmission of the virus, “the new rules are intended to prevent people who are infected with COVID-19 but not showing symptoms from spreading the virus, according to an announcement by the California Department of Public Health.”

Newsom explained that he decided to issue the guidance because “we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered – putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease.”

“Science shows that face coverings and masks work,” Newsom said in a written statement as reported by the Sacramento Bee. “They are critical to keeping those who are around you safe, keeping businesses open and restarting our economy.”

The Sacramento Bee further reported:
“The new rules require face coverings when people are riding in taxis and rideshare cars, taking public transit, standing in line to enter a building or walking through common areas like hallways, stairways, elevators and parking garages.

It also requires masks for people working in a building visited by the public even if no other people are present and at all locations where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution.

Masks are also required outdoors in spaces where people can’t maintain six feet of distance from one another.

Children under age 2 don’t have to wear masks under the new rules. People with medical conditions or developmental disabilities that prevent them from wearing masks are also exempt. The rules also make exceptions for people who are deaf or have hearing loss who may rely on reading lips and facial expressions for communication, and allow others to remove their masks when communicating with them.”

HUWAG PASAWAY! Wear masks and other face coverings or be ready to receive citations, be fined or even imprisoned. More than anything else, use your brain and think! Your health and the survival of your family are more important than the politics of the mask, pushed by Trump who just said in his usual ego-centric perspective: “Some Americans are wearing masks to show they disapprove of him and not as a preventive measure during the pandemic.”

It is NOT about Donald Trump. It is about YOUR life and the lives and safety of your family members.

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Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989 with ABS-CBN and is now serving the Filipino audience using different platforms, including digital broadcasting, and print, and is working on a new public service program for the community. You may contact her through email at [email protected], or send her a message via Facebook at

Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to and

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