All you need is an old t-shirt and a pair of scissors to make a home made face covering. Masks are already mandatory in Los Angeles and the idea is under consideration in Montgomery County for workers and customers at essential businesses.
On Friday, April 3, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. such as grocery stores and pharmacies, and especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
These coverings can be bandanas or scarves, or any other kind of covering. Neither the CDC nor DC Health recommend that residents not providing care to someone with COVID-19 symptions wear surgical masks or N-95 respirators. “Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders,” wrote the CDC.
However, recent studies indicate that many people with coronavirus won’t show symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before they show. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.
Jeremy Howard is a research scientist at the University of San Francisco. At the end of March, he wrote a persepctive piece for the Washington Post calling for everyone to wear masks in public.
“It can take a while for official recommendations to catch up with scientific thinking. In this case, such delays might be deadly and economically disastrous,” he wrote. “It’s time to make masks a key part of our fight to contain, then defeat, this pandemic.”
Howard founded the Masks4All movement in the United States to advocate for the mandatory wearing of masks in public. The site offers data and patterns for how to make masks.
While individuals and groups have begun sewing masks to meet the need and demand, others may lack the equipment or feel they lack the skill set to do so. Here are two no-sew ways to make a face mask.
- Make it with two rubber bands and a hankerchief, bandana or scarf.
US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams has created a video demonstrating this simple, one-minute method. You will need a piece of material that is at least 18 inches by 12 inches for this to work:
2. Cut it from a t-shirt.
This is the option demonstrated in the video at the top of the article. Lay the t-shirt flat and cut across the top of the t-shirt along the line of the sleeves. Cut a wide ‘U’ shape in from each cuff of the shirt. The center of the shirt will be where your face goes and the sides will tie around your face.
This option allows for you to insert a paper towel or coffee filter in between the layers to act as a filter. Combine the Masks4All method with the CDC method to get up to 3 different masks out of one large t-shirt.
Or using the bottom:
At a Wednesday morning press conference, DC Health Director Dr. Laquandra Nesbitt said masks don’t need to be worn consistently in public. Rather, she said masks are most effective in locations where a person can not safely continuously maintain 6 feet between themselves and another individual, such as going to grocery stores, pharmacies or doctor’s offices.
“Wearing a face covering is not a replacement for the impact of staying home and adhering to the social distancing requirements, said Nesbitt. “It is critically important that people understand that.”
Nesbitt said that facemasks should only be worn by people who can put them safely and by themselves, and are not recommended for children less than 2 years of age.
To avoid accidental transmission of the virus by touch, masks should not be touched frequently while worn, or at all in the front where it covers the mouth, Nesbitt added, and should always be removed from the back. Disposable masks should be placed in the trash immediately after wear.
Fabric masks should be washed before they are worn, every day, and when damp or soiled, she said. “Not using them appropriately can actually increase transmision of the virus,” Nesbitt cautioned.
You should also wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your face. A face covering is just an additional, voluntary public health measure, she said.