Detroit buses make masks available to riders

Detroit buses will have surgical masks available to riders starting Wednesday — a new precaution the city is taking following the death from COVID-19 last week of a bus driver who had complained of a rider coughing without covering her mouth.

For the buses, the state is providing Detroit with 20,000 masks that are not needed at hospitals, Mayor Mike Duggan said at a news conference Tuesday.

“We only have a limited number of these. The hospitals have priority in the surgical masks. That’s the way it should be,” Duggan said. “It’s really important that you take one, you store it, you keep it for as many days as you can.”

To conserve the city’s supply, officials also suggested that residents make a mask out of an old scarf, bandana or T-shirt. (Chief Public Health Officer Denise Fair demonstrated how to make one here.)

The city’s move to outfit all of its buses with masks follows the death April 1 of Detroit bus driver Jason Hargrove, who posted an 8½- minute rant on his Facebook account on March 21 about a woman coughing on his bus and warning that this coronavirus situation “is for real,” adding that “we’re out here, as public workers, doing our job trying to make an honest living to take care of our families.”

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