For months we were beset with confusing, contradictory, and distressing messages from health officials, government officials, government health officials, and Facebook friends over whether those of us who were not working in a health care capacity should be wearing face masks in public to help keep ourselves and others safe.
Within the past few days, however, clarity has finally come from the Centers for Disease Control on the subject: Yes, we should all be wearing masks to impede the spread of the coronavirus in the population.
Face masks, while they may not keep out virus droplets disseminated into the air by other people, do keep the droplets one exhales from escaping into the air and infecting other people. This is especially important as one can be carrying coronavirus without knowing it. Some infected people are asymptomatic, or have not yet exhibited symptoms, but can still spread the disease to others.
The idea, then, is we should wear a mask to protect everybody else, and everybody else should wear a mask to protect us; or, as Pat Toomey, Republican Senator of Pennsylvania, so eloquently put it, "My mask protects you. Your mask protects me." It's a beautiful, all-American concept.
However now the dilemma is, how does one acquire a face mask when there's a national shortage of masks even among health care workers? The solution that's being offered is that Americans should sew their own face masks. There are dozens of instructions online for how to sew a cloth face mask. But this requires owning a sewing machine - though, I suppose, one could buy a needle and thread and sew a mask by hand - and acquiring cloth and some elastic - but the Joanne's Fabric in my neighborhood is all out of elastic - though one could, I suppose, use shoe laces or strips of material to make a tie-on mask.
However, in truth, not all of us feel we have the acumen to sew a mask. I know how to sew, but, in truth, I haven't yet sewn any masks because...I don't feel like it. I don't like sewing. I never have.
But then this morning I happened to be scrolling down my Facebook page when I came across a post by my friend Lydia Freeman,
Check it out!