The Fourth Week

Having become convinced that there is a use for homemade masks, I am now on the mask-making detail too. Not mass producing though.

mask ties

I had a roll of bias binding made up and thought it surplus from a previous project (here). I had enough for five masks and I had some batik from another previous project (here). And batik is closely woven and good for masks. Of course as soon as I had cut the binding I remembered what I’d been saving it for. Oh well, there’s more fabric in this apartment.

And then, though I didn’t have elastic, I did have some headbands in colors I didn’t wear, and I had heard of others using them for masks. So I tried several.

mask elastic

I’ve tried them out.  They stay on until I talk too much. The small tuck is to make it tight enough at the chin. The sides for that one were an inch longer than those of the other masks, and I think that made the difference.

So while some states allow (and some groups intend in spite of states not allowing) people to gather in large crowds for Easter services, I’ll continue staying home, and when I go out I’ll wear a mask. I was glad to read that KY claims that anyone who goes to an Easter service will be put in quarantine. We will have to watch numbers 14 days after Easter. And we will have to watch numbers 14 days after Wisconsin’s election and hope that masks and physical distancing compensated for the inhumane rulings that forced the choice between health and in-person voting.

I am glad to read that physical distancing seems to be doing its work and that disease and death numbers are lower than modeled. Rather than saying it proves the shut down was not needed, as some Fox News commentators do, it shows it did its work! One wonders at the Fox News analysis, treating models as exact prophecies then claiming they failed. Which is worse: to assume commetators really don’t know how models work or to assume they distort nuance of model making into something that fits their version of the situation? The rest of us know that a model is as good as the possibilities plugged into its blanks–how many restrictions, how much compliance, for example. And many of those variables depend on public behavior.

Even though the numbers are better than expected, they are daunting. And in spite of that there is rumbling anew about reopening. The New York Times Magazine reports a conversation on the ethics and morality of the trade offs of reopening, whenever we do (here). And though I’d been made aware of the discrepancy between the number of deaths of patients of color from white patients, I’d not drawn the logical conclusion expressed by Vanita Gupta, one of the participants:

Even now we’re making trade-offs. We should be more honest about it. Many of the folks we call essential are low-wage workers, and we depend on them to keep grocery stores and pharmacies open. To a degree, the decisions about reopening in the future are about whether we’re comfortable with the professional classes becoming part of the trade-off by going back to their offices. And the pandemic highlights the divide between workers with paid sick leave and without. Only 47 percent of private-sector workers in the bottom quarter for wages have paid sick leave, compared with 90 percent in the top quarter, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Covid-19 is further revealing the country’s profound inequality and structural racism.




Filed under novel coronavirus

7 responses to “The Fourth Week

  1. Like you, I’ve made some masks, but I’m not mass making them, either. After this is all over I expect to see used masks for sale at the thrift shops, either hanging individually or sold in bags together. If only the homemade ones helped the people who need them most!

    This Covid-19 pandemic has created a mess. So many things seem so uncertain because of it. Open early, stay closed longer. The benefits of both and to whom…. I hadn’t realized that Fox News said the shut down was not needed based on the projected model. It seems to me it proves that what were doing, staying at home, has prevented the worst scenario/outcome. And then there’s the economic consideration…. I hope we’re not headed toward a famine!

  2. Betty Colburn

    Me too on the mask detail.

  3. I am also deeply troubled by the issues described by Vanita Gupta. However I believe that the retail workers aren’t just called essential, they ARE essential. They ought to be paid much more, especially now. They are risking their lives by going to work almost as much as the first responders are. To Nancy: We may not be headed for famine but we are headed into recession.

  4. Susan Nixon

    Your masks look like a lovely fashion statement. =)

  5. Hi Claire, you’ve been very inventive in making your marks. Stay well.

  6. “They stay on until I talk to much”. Oh no – in this new reality you will have to be very quiet to keep your mask on?!?! 🙂
    I felt obligated to make some being a sewing person but I only made enough for family and friends and then got too sad making them to mass produce. My hats off to those who made huge piles and donated them. There is even a kind person in my neighborhood who is giving away handmade masks to people who need them.
    I hope we do not reopen too soon, yes it hurts financially but more people dead or infected would be a much worse outcome.

  7. I’ve made a few masks, around 40 or so, mostly for my sister who is a nurse practitioner and her colleagues. I’m not mass producing them either but am glad to have contributed in this small way.

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