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The great mask race

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 4/06/20, 11:49 am

Hospitals are reusing them, crafters are making them, and Apple is buying them by the millions. Everyone needs a mask, according to the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Friday, the agency said the general public should wear homemade face coverings and save medical-grade supplies for healthcare workers. Apple CEO Tim Cook said Sunday his company had access to potentially 20 million masks. It plans to deliver 1 million per week to the places that need them most. On Thursday, President Donald Trump blocked the Minnesota-based 3M corporation and its subsidiaries from exporting N95 masks.

Do cloth masks really help? They can keep people who have COVID-19—but either don’t know it yet or don’t have severe symptoms—from passing it on. Cloth masks also serve as a visual reminder to people of the other precautions they should take, like not touching their faces and keeping 6 feet away from others.

Dig deeper: Listen to Jenny Lind Schmitt’s report about homemade masks on The World and Everything in It.

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Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital's managing editor. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kansas. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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  • OldMike
    Posted: Mon, 04/06/2020 05:21 pm

    So far there is very little covid known where I live, Northwest Arkansas.  Many people still have to work—we are home to several poultry processors, including Tyson Foods. Also home to Walmart, and some of their many warehouses and shipping centers. Of course we are working—the rest of the country needs areas like mine to keep producing and shipping groceries etc. 

    That said, a large number of us are still going about our lives in a rather casual manner—aside from schools, restaurants, gyms, theaters etc all being closed. Masks are seldom seen

    But my wife and I have decided, when we have to run to the grocery or post office, we will wear masks. For protection, yes. But also to set examples to help others overcome their resistance to wearing them. 

    Our President and Administration have been telling us the effort to overcome the covid requires ALL of us. Wearing a mask is a small contribution everyone can make. 

  • My Two Cents
    Posted: Tue, 04/07/2020 12:07 pm

    I'm glad you are well! I think President Trump should wear a mask, as recommended by the CDC. Lead by example, like you and your wife. Congress members should also. The CDC has back-pedaled on this issue. A few weeks ago their web site said wearing a cloth mask was ineffective in preventing the spread of viruses. We should NOT wear a mask unless directed to do so by your doctor, and the real masks should be saved for those in the medical field. Now, somehow, cloth masks are a must. Of course, the CDC also (back in January when I was curious about what was happening in China) had on their web site that we didn't need to fear the Carona Virus (I don't even think it had been named COVID-19 yet.) It recommended thorough hand washing, coughing or sneezing into your sleeve, and GET THE FLU SHOT. At the time, I doubted the flu shot would prevent the carona virus, but what do I know? I'm not an expert. I hardly trust or believe the CDC anymore.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Tue, 04/07/2020 01:10 pm

    Oops!  My Two Cents, I accidentally hit report on your post when I intended to reply. 

    World Editors, could you remove my “Report comment” please?

  • OldMike
    Posted: Tue, 04/07/2020 01:16 pm

    What I intended to say is, I don’t think we need to distrust the CDC or our government on this. 

    The advice and recommendations keep changing simply because medical authorities started out knowing nothing about the covid, and our knowledge is increasing daily. For instance, researchers have just said a day or so ago that it appears about 1 out of 5 who get covid will also suffer some heart effects!  

    Nothing like that was known earlier—it seemed that once a person recovered from covid, there weren’t any other issues. 

    It’s all new territory for everyone!  

    Keep trusting the Lord!