Face Masks in the Time of Coronavirus
As I write this towards the end of June 2020, my state of Texas is one of 23 that is experiencing a huge surge in coronavirus cases. This isn’t the second wave, my friends; this virus is relentless and refuses to follow seasonal patterns like its cousin Flu. Covid-19 is quick to take advantage of any weakness, which manifests itself through impatience, application of misinformation, head-in-the-sand denial, blatant stubbornness, and dropping-our-guard diversions, as worthwhile as they may be.
The statistics show that people are getting pandemic weary and are becoming less careful and vigilant to the ongoing danger of this extremely contagious virus. It’s finding our weak points and attacking.
Life will not return to ‘business as usual’ until a vaccine is developed, or worse case scenario— it has swept through humanity and weeded out all of the vulnerable, like Darwin’s natural selection. So we can either keep playing Russian roulette every time we step outside our homes and into public places acting like everything is normal, or we can protect ourselves and others by wearing face masks and practicing physical distancing and smart hygiene. Those instructions may sound redundant, but I see too many people in public refusing to practice these simple protections.
I usually use curbside pickup when shopping for groceries, but I had to go back get some items I missed, so I waited until an hour before closing to avoid the crowds. I noticed all the grocery store employees wore masks, but very few customers did. I wonder how people will be able to live with themselves if they expose others to the virus with the potential of causing death along the weakest points of contact because they chose not to wear a face mask.
Yes, masks are hot, claustrophobic, unstylish, uncomfortable, and suffocating, but wearing a mask is such a small, small price to pay in exchange for saving lives. Wearing a mask does not diminish one’s masculinity or beauty or lessen one’s ‘freedom’. Wearing a mask shows you respect people in general around you and demonstrates how much you care about the people you live with and are in close proximity to. Not wearing a face mask says the opposite about you.
Two beauticians in Springfield, Missouri, who tested positive to the virus exposed 140 customers and six other employees, but no one caught the virus because everyone wore face masks. That’s a good sign that wearing masks makes a difference.
I feel so badly for all of the businesses suffering financially and some even closing because of the pandemic, as well as for the millions who have lost their income and jobs during this time. It is heartbreaking to see people not being able to be with loved ones in the hospital battling the virus, and especially the ones dying alone. These situations are truly devastating. Those are the hard things.
But I promise you, children (and parents) will survive missing a birthday party, a sporting event (or even an entire season), a big family or friends' reunion, or more in order to get through this pandemic with health and lives intact. Those aren’t the hard things, folks. This virus is not going away, and it’s getting closer and closer to all of our homes, if it hasn’t visited already. Wearing an inconvenient mask isn’t a hard thing, and it can save lives, even your own.
I wrote this article in the middle of night and felt pretty discouraged about so many people choosing not to wear face masks during this resurgence of the virus. But when I put out a call to friends on social media to send me pictures of them wearing masks, the response lifted my spirits immensely.
Don't have a mask?
Here are some alternatives that will work:
A bandana with extra layers of material tied around your face
Make your own out of t-shirts, dish towels, etc. I actually cut up two pairs of colored twill jeans along with a variety of other tightly woven material. I used material that I tested for density by holding it up to the light. If I couldn't see light through it, I used two layers. If I could see a little light, I added 3 layers of fabric.
I used a pattern from Sweet Red Poppy to make fitted masks for family members. But there are simpler and even no-sew patterns online, too, that you can use. Just do a search for "face mask patterns" or "no-sew patterns."
Any face covering is better than nothing, but the tighter the weave, the better.
Mask care & wear:
If you are out around people regularly, be sure to regularly wash & dry your masks in as hot of water and dryer air as possible. I keep my masks on the dash of the car and let the hot sun disinfect them for me, but that's probably not too scientific.
Don't be intimidated by others' getting creative with their masks-- just enjoy their efforts to lighten up this sad & scary time.
Don' fall into the 'mine's just the plain kind' thinking because the most important thing is to protect yourself & others, and if you are making the effort to cover your face, you're tops in my book.
CoVid-19 Causes Permanent Damage for Many-- Even the Young
Check out these remarks by people-- most are young adults, who are experiencing ongoing health issues after having the disease.
Donna Van Cleve
Current Events, Health & Wellness
Thank you for wearing face masks!
Click on a photo to open the slideshow; the librarian in me couldn't help but alphabetize the names.