WMass Group Organizes to Sew Masks

by Art Keene, Amherst Indy
April 3, 2020

undefinedWith the CDC’s policy change encouraging people to use cloth masks in public places and with more health experts endorsing the use of cloth masks as an effective intervention for lowering the infection rate of COVID-19, demand for masks is expected to burgeon in the coming weeks. Area groups and individuals are beginning to organize to produce masks.

MassMakeMasks serves as a hub for information on sewing emergency supplies and for fulfilling requests for masks needed by health professionals in response to the COVID-19 emergency. They are based in Western Massachusetts and provide links to information on patterns, materials, and distribution of home-sewn masks and also offer a listing of emergency requests (including requests for medical grade personal protective equipment (PPE) and for volunteers) from hospitals and other health care providers.

Fabric masks are considered only partially effective at blocking transmission of particles containing a virus, compared to professional medical grade masks. Medical grade masks are currently in short supply and the use of cloth masks by the general public is expected to free up supplies of medical grade masks for use by clinicians.

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Should We All Be Wearing Masks In Public? Health Experts Revisit The Question

by Huo Jingnan, Allison Aubrey, Carmel Wroth, NPR
March 31, 2020

Even without symptoms, you might have the virus and be able to spread it when out in public, say researchers who now are reconsidering the use of surgical masks. — Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“Wearing a mask is ‘an additional layer of protection for those who have to go out,’ former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told NPR in an interview. It’s a step you can take — on top of washing your hands and avoiding gatherings.

In a paper outlining a road map to reopen the country, Gottlieb argues that the public should be encouraged to wear masks during this current period of social distancing, for the common good.

‘Face masks will be most effective at slowing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 if they are widely used, because they may help prevent people who are asymptomatically infected from transmitting the disease unknowingly,’ Gottlieb wrote. Gottlieb points to South Korea and Hong Kong — two places that were shown to manage their outbreaks successfully and where face masks are used widely.“

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