Masks are in the News Again

Pandemic Diary Day 14

Jan van Grevenbroeck (1731–1807), Venetian doctor during the time of the plague. Pen, ink and watercolour on paper. Museo Cor
Jan van Grevenbroeck (1731–1807), Venetian doctor during the time of the plague. Pen, ink and watercolour on paper. Museo Cor
Jan van Grevenbroeck (1731–1807), Venetian doctor during the time of the plague. Pen, ink and watercolour on paper. Museo Correr, Venice.

April 7, 2020

My cousin Pam is a scientist and she loves to sew. She decided to use her time and left over fabrics to make masks.

She took the deep dive into finding appropriate information and patterns and was kind enough to send on to me what she found to be useful.

The first video is fabulous because it was done by medical professionals who had access to fit tests for masks, giving some much needed scientific information. You can watch that here.

A quick synopsis of what you learn in this video:

Are cloth masks harmful? Not for the most part. A cough mask is better than no mask. Obviously if you have an N95 that is superior, but hopefully they are all going to hospitals and care givers.

Is there a best pattern? Ideally, a mask that allows no air to seep in. University of Florida has two patterns on their site. Prototype 2 seems to be the favored by medical professionals doing You Tube videos, but it is still not perfect, and won’t work against covid-19 at all unless you have a fit test, which isn’t really available to the general public.

And how about materials? Again, the University of Florida has suggested using HalyardH600 cloth which is an antibacterial filtration product, but keep in mind there is no information regarding the PFE rating on HalyardH600, thus this fabric has not been studied with regards to Covid-19.

The second video Pam recommended, which you can find here, is a sewing how-to video. She sent me quite a few of these, but as I don’t sew, they were lost on me, however, she assured me that the one I am sharing with you was one of the more comprehensive ones.

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So Pam is making a mask for me and I am looking forward to receiving it. The should I or shouldn’t I wear a mask debate seems to have found its footing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that people wear face masks in public. The guidelines go on to state the obvious, that medical grade masks should be reserved for health professionals, who are facing a shortage of supplies. Therefore they suggest that Americans use T-shirts, scarves, handkerchiefs, or any other spare fabric to make homemade masks to cover their noses and mouths.

Tom Inglesby, director of Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, wrote in a Twitter thread that “members of the general public should wear non-medical fabric masks when going out in public in one additional societal effort to slow the spread of the virus down.”

I do not expect my new mask to fight against Covid-19 in close quarters, but it doesn’t need to. I have noticed how in my neighborhood there are still young people on skate boards or jogging that simply refuse to honor the 6 feet social distance barrier. This forces me to step into the middle of the road, or hold my breath as long as I can while they pass. Neither of these is that smart, so a mask will give me a sense of protection.

This is exactly why there was so much controversy on yes or no regarding wearing a mask. Many health professionals were worried that people would use them as protective gear. For me this mask will simply be there while I walk the few blocks I do each day as I try to maintain the recommend social distancing.

There is another part of this that I also want to address, and really goes to my older post on Privilege in Time of Covid-19.

The Boston Globe printed an opinion piece by Aaron Thomas and this paragraph really stood out: On Saturday I thought about the errands I need to make this week, including a trip to the grocery store. I thought I could use one of my old bandanas as a mask. But then my voice of self-protection reminded me that I, a Black man, cannot walk into a store with a bandana covering the greater part of my face if I also expect to walk out of that store.

This is going to be a long, long road and compassion and common sense need to be front and center through all of this.

Trivial Things

My Horoscope for today: A longstanding problem is quietly resolved. Your decision to give a loved one plenty of elbowroom proves to be the remedy.

The NYT Crossword Puzzle: Easy and boring

San Francisco weather: 56 degrees and Sunny

NYSE DOW opened at: 23537

Italian word of the day: sbaciucchiarsi (smooch)

Spanish word of the day: ejercicio (excercise)

OED word of the day: Wordsworthiana

Days under Shelter In Place: 25

Reading: Why Does the World Exist by Jim Holt

Reading Canto IX and X of Dante’s Inferno

A Special Something: The sourdough starter exchange of San Francisco

My Black and White Picture of the Day

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If you liked this please clap and let me know. Thank you

My travel blog www.PassportandBaggage.com and my www.ArtandArchitecture-sf.com blog are quiet due to the Pandemic. I need to write, so here I go.

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