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“The bodegas sold air-filtering masks imported from Japan. There were designer masks and low-end masks, louvered models and formfitting models, omega-pleated models for women with smaller faces, models with nose pads, nonstick models, and models that came equipped with damp filters containing SoothOn, a mentholated vapor laced with benzocaine that created the ‘sensation of throat-soothing steam’ every time you exhaled. The local news anchors debated which models were the safest and most fashionable.”