(Meredith/CNN) - Residents in Laredo, Texas, could be fined up to $1,000 if they don't wear something that covers their nose and mouth when they're out in public during the coronavirus pandemic.
A city order went into effect on Thursday requiring all residents over the age of 5 to wear some kind of covering -- such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandanna or handkerchief -- when entering a building open to the public. They must also cover their mouth and nose when using public transportation, taxis, ride shares or when pumping gas.
City officials are encouraging residents to use homemade masks and leave medical masks for health professionals.
However, a top White House health adviser has strongly cautioned that masks should not lull Americans into a false sense of security.
"It is not a substitute for the presidential guidelines (on social distancing) that have already gone out," Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, told reporters. "Don't get a false sense of security that that mask is protecting you exclusively from getting infected."
Laredo, a city of more than 261,000, reported its first four deaths from COVID-19 within the past five days.
The number of cases surpassed 1 million worldwide Thursday and more than 52,000 people have died from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics. The total includes confirmed cases from 180 countries and regions.
In the United States -- now the country hardest-hit by the virus has already infected more than 242,000 people from coast to coast.