by Art Keene, Amherst Indy
April 3, 2020
With 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.