In One Year, New York City’s Messaging Went from “You do You” to “Mask up with an N95.”

Dr. Lucky Tran, a public health and climate justice advocate and science communicator, took to X to compare mask signage created by the Metropolitan Transit Authority. On the left is a sign from September 2022 that implies that any way travelers wear a mask is ok even if that’s incorrect. On the right is a post from @nycHealthy that emphasizes the ways masks are for the public good by protecting the wearer and the people around them. Dr. Tran promotes the work of @COVIDAdvocacyNY, a group dedicated to attending NYC COVID-19 hearings and asking for better signage. Covid Advocacy NY, formerly “Mandate Masks NY” is an “advocacy group led by concerned New Yorkers to get NYC & NY to provide free masks, mandate masks when needed, & save lives from Covid.”

COVID-19 has faded to the back of people’s minds as it has been less prominent in news headlines. This has led to companies relaxing all of their mask policies. Disabled activists and groups like COVID Advocacy work to remind the public that COVID is still ever present, especially in winter 2023 as the JN1 variant spiked in NYC. As Dr. Tran pointed out, their advocacy succeeded!

-Stephanie Farmer