From Over-Cautious to Critical: The Need for Face Coverings in Public

It began as just a crisis overseas. It was something we were warned could happen here, yet we were still too far removed from the epicenter to fully understand or take too seriously. As the Covid-19 storm inched closer, however, tensions rose and we began to scratch our heads: Would we, too, be affected by this super virus?

Then almost out of nowhere, like a scene straight from the script of Contagion, things got ugly.

The doomsday prepping began, though none of us really understood, what, exactly, we were prepping for. As toilet paper flew off shelves and our pantries saw more non-perishable food items than it had in years,, none of us knew what to expect - except for the unexpected.

First came the school closures, then the shut-down of non-essential businesses. With some states on lockdown and others sheltering in place, fear, along with the urging of all public officials to just stay home and away from others, the world stood still.

Yet the virus has done anything but.

A few weeks ago, we looked at the individuals who were out and about in makeshift masks and rubber gloves as alarmists and paranoid worrywarts. A few days ago, as I made my way out for groceries, it was me who felt like the outcast, strutting through Target as if I were naked without anything covering my face, nose or hands.

But we can afford to be naked no more. As of this past weekend, the third since the coronavirus has paralyzed our nation, there were more than 1 million reported cases of the virus across the world - with a death count of over 7,000. It is only now, in these last few days, that the leaders of our nation have urged a call to action for all americans to wear protective face coverings in public to “curb the spread of Covid-19.”

While many of us are home counting the seconds on the clock, many of us still have to brave the dangers of the outside world - as an essential employee, a healthcare worker, as the caretaker of a family checking in on sick or elderly relatives, as single parents and their young children having no one else to rely on for a run to the grocery store. We are locked away, but not all of us are without the need to have to venture outdoors for reasons beyond our control.

So now, we do it covered up.

Just like we saw the people in China doing two months ago. Just like the Italians were doing some four weeks before today. Just like the “extra cautious’ neighbor you saw at the grocery store in mid-March. This is no longer a measure taken by the paranoid or the people with underlying medical conditions.

From the CDC, “CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States. We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. 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. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

We are all responsible now.

For each other, for our families, and to stop the spread of this virus.

While medical grade masks are being urged for use only by those working in healthcare, there are plenty of non-medical options available to us for use as safe face coverings. The CDC has recommended, apart from homemade masks:

  • T shirts

  • Bandanas

  • Scarves

To make your own homemade mask, and help keep the people in your community safe, visit our website for a simple step-by-step guide.

Michelle Dempsey-Multack

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DISCLAIMER: The aim of this website is to connect medical staff in need of personal protective equipment (“PPE”) with the general public or government agencies who can provide these items. We do not stock nor do we have access to any PPE of any kind. We do not verify or check the quality of the PPE because it is sent directly from the general public to the requesting medical provider. We do not accept any monetary donations.