Asks for masks
March 25, 2020 11:45 AM   Subscribe

These medical facilities are requesting masks. Instructions here for simple masks, here (pattern here) for the kind that takes a filter. (Hepa filters apparently work - also these.) Joann's is donating fabric (shipped or curbside, at some stores - contact info at link), and also taking in finished products.
posted by anshuman (83 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
An online acquaintance has been complaining that fabric ties (as recommended on the page) are sold out everywhere and harder to find than toilet paper.
posted by ardgedee at 12:14 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Other places for matching up supply donors with institutions that need masks and other supplies:
(scroll down and there's a state-by-state directory of hospitals etc asking for donated supplies... in just a few days the list of hospitals in my state has grown hugely, and many are now saying "we'll accept even already-used masks")
(for donations from labs to hospitals)
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:18 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]

Please use fabric ties, not elastic. Pattern will be being updated soon.

This has been one of the difficulties I've had in finding patterns. I have plenty of fabric, but no elastic! So I'm planning tonight to do a trial run of this pattern with just the ties (even there I will be improvising with fabric tubes, twill tape is just as hard to come by!).
posted by solotoro at 12:18 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]

For MeFites in the Lehigh Valley (Pa.): Masks for the Lehigh Valley (FB, public group).
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:19 PM on March 25

My county is looking for gowns. I wonder if that'd be a better direction to channel people's energy since they're already made out of fabric and there's less margin for error.
posted by bleep at 12:28 PM on March 25

(Note that it doesn't say on that page that homemade gowns are acceptable, that should be checked beforehand. But just in general.)
posted by bleep at 12:29 PM on March 25

If you have a 3D printer, this looks like the best face shield design I've seen so far. This is from the Coronavirus Makers group in Spain.
posted by bradbane at 1:01 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

I can't believe we're reintroducing the putting-out system when none of our manufacturies have actually been destroyed, but fine, I'm on it. (And certainly it's soothing to me to have something to do that seems helpful.)
posted by clew at 1:12 PM on March 25 [10 favorites]

Fabric masks do not protect from COVID-19. These masks are intended for use by the healthcare community who understand the role they may play in their healthcare options and have requested them.

They don’t do anything, we want them anyway?
posted by rodlymight at 1:48 PM on March 25

A bunch of hackers in NYC are developing and deploying PPE to local hospitals.
The site has a ton of resources about various face shield and mask designs.
Right now a lot of the focus is on face shields, which are easier and faster to fabricate at home. About 1200 have been delivered so far. If you're in NYC and can pitch in with labor or funds, lend a hand.
posted by phooky at 1:53 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

My partner whipped up a batch of masks for a neighborhood nursing home and used this method to make straps in lieu of buying them.
posted by hwyengr at 2:13 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

I can't believe we're reintroducing the putting-out system when none of our manufacturies have actually been destroyed, but fine, I'm on it. (And certainly it's soothing to me to have something to do that seems helpful.)
posted by clew at 1:12 PM on March 25

I'm a (currently laid off!) apparel industry worker in Seattle. I know of several manufacturers here and elsewhere pivoting to make PPE and other needed items. This Seattle-area 100 Million Masks project was swamped with individual volunteers, but ended up working with local companies with larger-scale capacity. It is happening, but of course it takes time, coordination and $$$.

In the meantime there are many people like you and me with time on their hands and the desire to help. In my area Crafters Against Covid-19 Seattle is coordinating volunteer sewers and material donations with requests from medical facilities. The mask pattern they're collecting this week has a wire nose bridge and a pocket that can hold an additional filter.

Bias tape can be made from fabric and used for ties, and has the added benefit of having inherent stretch.
posted by doift at 2:22 PM on March 25 [7 favorites]

rodlymight: I started making the Olson-style masks, at the request of a friend who's an NP in LA. She's sourcing filters to fit - e.g. cutting down Hepa air filters. There's disagreement on using just fabric - maybe 50% effective? better than nothing?
posted by anshuman at 2:37 PM on March 25

Our local hospital put out a call asking for sewers to make masks. I made a bunch over the weekend, as did many of my fellow quilt guild members. Here are our tips:

* Use 100% cotton fabric. Old men's shirts will work for this, too.

* Pre-launder your fabric. Health care facilities will be laundering the masks in ultra-hot water with harsh detergents. Pre-washing your fabric before you sew helps minimize shrinkage.

* If you're using a pattern that has pleats, iron before you do the pleats. Wonder Clips work better than pins to hold the pleats in place.

* Remember that all sorts of people, with all sorts of preferences, will be using these masks. If you have the option, use gender-neutral fabrics/colors/prints.

* You can create your own fabric ties, if you can't find elastic. Elastic seems to be sold out everywhere, both locally and online. You can also use narrow (1/4") fabric ribbon.

* There are tons of patterns out there. Here's a good basic one: CDC compliant face mask

To address the most common complaint: It's true fabric masks aren't as good as real surgical masks, but they're better than nothing. The CDC recommends health care providers use bandannas or socks (!!) if they have run out of real masks. Seems like a homemade fabric mask with elastic or ties is better than a bandanna or a... sock.

Also can I say, when I signed up to be the newsletter editor for our local quilt guild two years ago, I never imagined I would managing emergency comms during a global pandemic. Strange days.
posted by ErikaB at 2:46 PM on March 25 [26 favorites]

I feel like we need a name for these that conveys that -- maybe BTN (Better Than Nothing) masks.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:54 PM on March 25 [8 favorites]

On the one hand, this is wonderful, literally life-saving work.

On the other hand, it is completely unbelievable to me that we have had a national failure of this magnitude that vital health care and other people are having to rely on masks cribbed together out of old shirts and bedsheets, because that is a better option than using an old sock(!). Hopefully there is not a long lag time for US factories to ramp up and importation to restart for Chinese-made masks, but in the meantime people are making do.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:13 PM on March 25 [18 favorites]

Does anyone know if stitching by hand will work? I don’t have a functional sewing machine right now but can backstitch like a mofo. The organization I asked about this sweetly invited me to come by their studio to see if it would work but I’m trying hard to keep myself out of circulation right now.
posted by corey flood at 3:24 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Our local hospital is not accepting donations of homemade masks; instead they are organizing a work bee to insure masks are made to their specifications. Yeah, that's a great idea,let's all leave home and go work together in one room.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:03 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Seconding ErikaB on prewashing your fabric as harshly as possible so it won’t shrink when it inevitably gets harshly laundered later. That’s what gives me pause about the kits handed out at Joann’s, etc. — I doubt they’re prewashed.
posted by liet at 5:04 PM on March 25

If you need to make your mask ties cut your fabric diagonally (on the bias) not with the grain. That gives them more flexibility to curve when needed. Make them four times the width you need and fold the two sides to just touch along the midline and then fold the tie in half along the midline. If you can iron them flat this well help them stay put. If you can't iron on that small a scale try folding the fabric when it is damp and letting it dry while folded. The ready to sew tie will be four layers thick and will only need sewing on the outside edge and will not need to be turned inside out.

If you have sewn tubes and now have to figure out how to turn them right side out, thread a drinking straw inside the tube and then poke one end of the tube back into the straw with a barbecue skewer and pushing all the way through down the straw.

Hospital workers are wearing them over the good masks, because then the good masks can be worn for longer. They also are giving them to the random people who come into the hospital because ordinary masks are now hard to get. Yes, the hospitals need them even if they are not the really good, virus safe ones. They still reduce transmission and are preferred over going bare face.
posted by Jane the Brown at 5:28 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]

What I really don't understand is that 3M and some other company in Massachusetts both manufacturer their masks in the US already, and that's just the two I checked. Yet I haven't heard a peep about it one way or another. And surely we have other capacity that could be reconfigured. I have heard of people finding sources for importing them, too. The whole thing is very weird.
posted by sepviva at 5:44 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]

Does anyone know what constitutes acceptable eye protection? The student shop I run is closed for the duration, and we have several boxes of n95’s and 2 sizes of OTG safety glasses on the shelf. The latter are designed primarily for flying solid particles/impact rather than splashing liquid. They don’t seal at the edges.

None of this is mine to give away, but I might be able to get permission. I’m also thinking of a barrel of free safety glasses there used to be at a local yard equipment dealer. Stihl kept sending more than customers wanted.
posted by jon1270 at 6:58 PM on March 25

My mother-in-law is a store manager for Husqvarna Viking in a nearby Joann Fabric store. Today she got a letter from her district manager that she's supposed to show to the police to make the case that her job of selling sewing machines is "life saving" because sewing machines can be used to sew masks. She's in her 60s, with a plethora of health issues that would put her in a very high risk group were she to contract COVID-19.

She asked her employees if any of them wanted to come in, and one out of five said yes, and says she can sew 50 masks a day. She's even older, and just had her hip replaced.

These are the people our society is conscripting to fight on the front lines of capitalism, making sure enough sewing machines are sold to make crappy, inadequate masks that probably will do very little to flatten the curve.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:14 PM on March 25 [14 favorites]

I can make lengths of bias tubing ("spaghetti strap", about 1 cm wide finished width) for anyone who wants some. I have a big roll of white cotton that was cut on the bias and I can easily make tubes up to about 26" long. Or shorter, of course.

MeMail me if you want some, and let me know how many pieces and what length. This fabric has not been washed so you might want to allow for some shrinkage.

I'll mail them to you. This is quite possibly the least efficient way to make nearly useless PPE, but apparently that's where we're at now, so let's get started!
posted by Quietgal at 8:28 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]

jon1270 - CDC ordinarily doesn't recommend safety glasses for that reason, but its optimizing PPE page says crisis situations may require "using safety glasses (e.g., trauma glasses) that have extensions to cover the side of the eyes."

BTN masks: tl;dr imo it does help. this RCT found droplet penetration was 97% in cloth masks & 44% in surgical masks, but! using fine gauze in multiple layers increases protection.
(It also depends a lot on hand hygiene. anecdata from Singapore is that extended use of PPE is possible if HCW have strict hand hygiene practices, and there's this report on 0/41 COVID infections amongst HCWs exposed to aerosol-generating procedures without a N95)
posted by ahundredjarsofsky at 8:36 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

What I really don't understand is that 3M and some other company in Massachusetts both manufacturer their masks in the US already, and that's just the two I checked. Yet I haven't heard a peep about it one way or another. And surely we have other capacity that could be reconfigured. I have heard of people finding sources for importing them, too. The whole thing is very weird.

Yeah like for what sane reason would they not start ramping up production 2 months ago to much applause? It is extremely weird, none of any of this makes any sense.
posted by bleep at 8:56 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]

For all we know they did. Maybe they sent them to China? Or speculators bought them all. Or the material comes from China and wasn't being exported because they were using it there. But why has not one of the 4 million articles about the shortage thought to try asking?
posted by sepviva at 9:17 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]

3M is local here: a response.
posted by nicething at 9:34 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]

they're just-barely-ass-covering, gaslighting liars lacking empathy, including here, (the misministration that is; not necessarily 3M) but: within a day or so of being appointed to chair the coronavirus task force, at 16:46 of the saturday, feb. 29 task force press conference, pence addresses masks, noting at 17:24 "we've contracted now with 3M to have 35 million more masks will be produced (sic) and we're also going to be working with other manufacturers." of course, just before that he said
But this administration is going to always put first our patients first and second, we’re going to make sure and protect the health of our healthcare providers. As the President said, we have more than 40 million masks available today.
i'm not certain the number is wrong or how it relates to rate of usage or foreseeable demand (or whether it is like the defense production act and hospital ship assertions; wouldn't be surprised, if those 40 million masks existed in the first place, to learn that they still have not been distributed to where they're needed), but i am certain that other sentence is a falsehood: they did not and even now do not put our patients first; they absolutely did not protect and still are not protecting our healthcare providers.

but, for what it's worth, there he is referring to a new, increased order of masks from 3M on february 29. probably, given that i was sufficiently aware of the shortage -- as well as the management/would-be investors in my workplace -- to be paying close attention as of that date, that date was late from a government crisis-planning perspective. (and here's contributor rayne starting sewing masks march 13).
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:41 PM on March 25

Well, I don't understand the mask stuff and I'm a worker who's laid off that already knew what an N95 was. But if it helps anybody, NYC-ish shops are cutting fabric and getting it to theatre/fashion people who sew. It's Fashion to the Frontline. For real, these are people I know (and people I don't know) and they're doing their best gangbusters assembly-line job at helping.

And if they're wasting their time, please also let me know.
posted by lauranesson at 10:54 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]

I really hate to break the bad news here, but...

Is JOANN Fabrics Really Offering Face Mask Sewing Kits?

No. Apparently at least in that reporter's area, it is a lie. And of course the employees are getting treated exactly as you'd imagine they are these days.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:23 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]

thanks, nicething, that article is great!
posted by sepviva at 12:15 AM on March 26

findthemasks currently shows five requests around Pittsburgh, but two that claim to be associated with a major medical facility are asking for supplies to be delivered to residential addresses. Not reassuring from a legitimacy standpoint.
posted by jon1270 at 4:58 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

I donated 40 N95 masks that Mark had at Survival Research Labs to the local Kiaser hospital in Oakland. I had to replace the elastic on a bunch of hem since they had been sitting for quite awhile.
I have some elastic (rainbow color) and a bunch of "stretchy cord" (150yrds) in rainbow hues. If anyone is making masks I will mail some. PM me.
posted by boilermonster at 10:09 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

@Boilermonster: Thank you, neighbor.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:44 AM on March 26

It looks like SRL may be tooling up to make injection molds to make ventilator parts (3D printing is really slow but good to test prototypes).
I pointed out to Mark that it is sorta ironic that we are actually doing survival research.
posted by boilermonster at 1:13 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]

@sepviva my understanding from this article is that there’s a special material inside n95 masks called “melt-blown” plastic, which is what forms the barrier against microbes but also allows the wearer to breathe through the mask. Its manufacture is a very fiddly process (easy to get bad batches), and the machinery that makes it is very expensive and very specialized. Supplies of this material are currently quite constrained because of skyrocketing demand (first in China and now worldwide). However, it’s no trivial thing to pivot a manufacturing line to making this stuff; it can take months to install a manufacturing line, even if the necessary machinery were widely available, which it‘s not. This may be why 3M isn’t making more masks?
posted by disentir at 1:19 PM on March 26

Does anyone know if stitching by hand will work?

Yes, but it's kind of a pain to do. I just made a mask for my spouse to go grocery shopping in (more for other people's protection than his own and to normalize mask wearing). My sewing machine isn't working at the moment, but it was totally doable by hand. (I did, however, have a bit of elastic, so I didn't sew fabric tubes or anything.) I don't think I'm up to making many, but maybe one or two more for family/friends.
posted by Margalo Epps at 3:09 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]

In infuriating mask news, the federal government found 1.5 million in a warehouse, but is giving boarder patrol and TSA staff 30-day supplies, and refusing to ship to hospitals. So that's just great.

In good mask news, the factory that makes major league baseball uniforms in PA started making 10,000 non-N95 masks and gowns a day, and donating them to local hospitals.

From the same article: The Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Association - Greater Philadelphia chapter, which claims hundreds of members working at local drug companies, schools, and start-ups, is expecting “4,000 masks and 50 protective gowns from China” next week and will give them to Philadelphia hospitals...

Distilleries and a silly-putty company are making sanitizer, Merck has promised a half million hospital grade masks, and other pharmaceutical packaging companies are also gearing up.
posted by sepviva at 4:43 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]

Our hospital is now taking home-sewn masks, so i just need to get my sewing machine out of storage. I have tons of quilting fabric in cute prints.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:16 PM on March 27

Naomi Bar-Yam, Sewing masks (DIY for hospitals, institutions, or yourself), New England Complex Systems Institute (March 23, 2020).
Hospitals are seeing an increasing number of patients with COVID 19, with symptoms ranging from mild to serious, as well as their normal urgent care and emergency patients. Medical supplies to care for patients and to protect medical providers, their families and patients are running short throughout the country. While not ideal, reusable washable masks can be made by hand, and they are needed for protection in hospitals, nursing homes, rehab centers, group homes and other group settings.

There are a number of Facebook groups coordinating this effort and working with local health care facilities for requirements and drop off of masks. Two have just merged and are working together. / Million Mask Mayday - Make Masks & More to Fight COVID-19

Here are the basic materials and supplies you’ll need.
posted by katra at 3:10 PM on March 27

Just heard about this thread so I'll drop these here: two no-sew mask ideas.

From a February South China Morning Post article, a video showing how to make what is claimed to be a highly effective homemade mask from paper towels, tissue, tape and rubber bands.

And here's a quick tutorial using handkerchief and hairbands for a mask that's almost certainly better than no mask at all when you have to go out.
posted by mediareport at 9:08 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]

Dammit, I broke a needle and now my machine is skipping stitches. I think sewing through the pleats in the seam allowance of flannel was too much. Should have moved inward off the SA.
posted by clew at 12:41 PM on March 28

(in the case somebody doesn't read the actual article "sterilize" in this context means kills coronavirus not kills all organisms. 70C will not work for bacillus spores.)
posted by benzenedream at 2:34 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]

Is this the thread to ask where I could buy some of these handmade masks? My biggest is still working in food delivery and me (immuno-compromised) and my littlest are at staying at home so, while my biggest is being really careful, it'd be nice to get him something while he's doing zero contact deliveries and also shopping for us. Something he could wash and reuse. Any thoughts, feel free to MeMail.
posted by blessedlyndie at 8:26 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]

Oh. blessedlyndie, I'll send you some if I fix my machine. Until then, Hong Kong did some research about what common stuff to use, and paper towels and Kleenex are *surprisingly* good, can you get those? And rubber bands? Here's the reasoning and some related advice for wearing DIY masks out and about, and the video of making one.
posted by clew at 9:46 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]

Heating masks at 70C sterilizes them for reuse

That link's worth spreading around, thanks. The last 3 paragraphs:

Separately, a research team at Stanford Medicine tested various ways to clean used N95 masks --including soaking the masks in bleach and alcohol hand sanitizer and even cooking them in a microwave oven. They found that alcohol and chlorine bleach broke down the fibers in the masks so they didn’t screen small particles as effectively anymore. The study authors cautioned health care workers against trying to clean masks this way. Microwaves melted the masks, making them useless.

The fastest and most effective way to sterilize a used mask, they found, was to put it in an oven on low heat -- about 158 F -- for 30 minutes. A typical kitchen oven works fine for this, according to the study authors. Masks cleaned this way keep about 97% of their ability to screen out small particles.

Another great way to clean an N95 mask? Steam. Holding the mask over boiling water for about 10 minutes kills germs but also preserves about 95% of the mask’s ability to filter tiny germs like viruses. The study found that UV light also worked.

posted by mediareport at 8:24 AM on March 29 [6 favorites]

Is this the thread to ask where I could buy some of these handmade masks?

Where are you? It's probably best to contact sewers near you. You could also try listing this as a job or buying from Etsy.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:52 AM on March 29

I just bought one on Etsy here in Australia. Lots of people were supplying them.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:17 PM on March 29

It’s Time to Make Your Own Face Mask (Farhad Manjoo, NYT Opinion)
Here’s how to do it.
(For less experienced sewers, you might want to try the mask provided by our colleagues in the Styles section.)

[...] There are caveats: People should make sure their DIY masks are clean (a dirty mask might be worse than no mask), and they shouldn’t use the masks as an excuse to violate social-distancing orders.
posted by katra at 11:35 AM on March 31

Also, once your mask is wet it’s unsafe, maybe very unsafe. This is in the HK advice, and is also what my mother learned in RN training from people who remembered Before Plastic, and also you can think of water films connecting the inside to the outside as a tunnel through the maze of mask filters. HK advises having a bag to drop dirty masks into, if you’ll be out long enough to change masks.

Slogan from the Czech Republic - `My mask protects you; your mask protects me.'
posted by clew at 11:43 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]

Which DIY mask pattern should you use? Even experts can’t pick one to recommend. (WaPo)
The basics? Good coverage is important. The mask should reach above the bridge of the nose and below the chin. Fit is important. A mask should be snug. A fabric tie might work better than an elastic band. And if a mask is going to be reused, it must be kept clean. Layers add additional protection, so three-ply is good, as is including a small pocket or pouch, into which an additional filter can be inserted.

When selecting material, a trade-off must be made between filtration efficiency and breathability. Vacuum bags are highly effective filters, according to a document put out by the Stanford Anesthetics Informatics and Media Lab, but may not be a good choice because of the effort required to breathe through them. Paper towels and wet wipes are too porous and are of little use.

[...] Peter Tsai, the materials scientist who invented the electrostatic charging technology that N95 masks [...] offered another material for DIY mask makers to consider: nonwoven fabrics. [...] Not all nonwoven fabrics are ideal for masks. Wet wipes are made of nonwoven fabric but are too porous, Tsai said. Vacuum bags are also generally made of nonwoven fabric but are not breathable. Tsai recommended using car shop towels as mask material. The towels, available in rolls and often blue in color, would do a better job of filtering droplets than cloth, he said. The material is “very strong,” he said. “And it can be washed with soap and water and reused.” There are YouTube videos that offer tutorials on using this material.

The towels, he said, could also be used in conjunction with cloth masks, serving as an additional filtering layer. Still, like MacIntyre, he said that cloth is better than nothing. “Any cloth material can help. It is not perfect, but it can stop large droplets from getting out, and from getting in,” he said.
posted by katra at 2:06 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]

Looking through the Stanford Medicine document, is there any information out there on imparting an appropriate static charge to homemade masks or filter inserts?
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:15 PM on April 1

The Joint Commission on hospital accreditation put out a statement March 31 endorsing health care workers (a) being allowed to wear masks all day, and (b) being allowed to wear masks they bring from home - including homemade masks - if there's no better alternative available. This seems huge; my sense is there's been a logjam on these issues among hospital administrations that has led to some stupid decisions (eg forbidding health workers to wear masks), and maybe this will help to move things in a better direction.

Joint Commission Mar 31 statement on healthcare workers wearing masks
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:58 PM on April 1 [5 favorites]

It's still confusing. It took me until last night to trace/figure out it was the Stupid Surgeon General who went around at the end of February telling people to stop wearing masks. This was either the crisis's first great monkeywrench or it was a dumb-dumb throwing knives blindfolded.
posted by rhizome at 10:52 AM on April 2

Experts tell White House coronavirus can spread through talking or even just breathing (CNN)
A prestigious scientific panel told the White House Wednesday night that research shows coronavirus can be spread not just by sneezes or coughs, but also just by talking, or possibly even just breathing. "While the current [coronavirus] specific research is limited, the results of available studies are consistent with aerosolization of virus from normal breathing," according to the letter, written by Dr. Harvey Fineberg, chairman of a committee with the National Academy of Sciences.

Fineberg told CNN that he will wear start wearing a mask when he goes to the grocery store. "I'm not going to wear a surgical mask, because clinicians need those," said Fineberg, former dean of the Harvard School of Public Health. "But I have a nice western-style bandana I might wear. Or I have a balaclava. I have some pretty nice options."

[...] Fineberg, chair of the NAS' Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats, said his letter was sent Wednesday evening in response to a query from Kelvin Droegemeier with the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. "This letter responds to your question concerning the possibility that [coronavirus] could be spread by conversation, in addition to sneeze/cough-induced droplets," the letter states. "Currently available research supports the possibility that [coronavirus] could be spread via bioaerosols generated directly by patients' exhalation," it continues.
Residents in Texas city can face $1,000 fine for not wearing 'some form of covering over their nose and mouth' after new motion (The Hill)
According to the Laredo Morning Times, council members passed the motion in a vote earlier this week. As part of the measure, all residents over the age of 5 are required to have their nose and mouth covered when entering public buildings, using public transportation and when pumping gas, the body said in a notice detailing the motion, which went into effect Thursday.

“This does not apply when a person is: engaging in a permissible outside physical activity; that are riding in a personal vehicle; that are in alone in a separate single space; that are with their own shelter group (household members); when doing so poses a greater health, safety or security risk; or for consumption purposes,” the notice also states.
posted by katra at 12:13 PM on April 2

Barriers to masks (Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution) - From a tweet storm by Melissa Chen:
I’ve been working with a generous donor to get a million PPEs (masks) to the myriad healthcare workers in NYC who constantly tell us they’re facing shortages. Yet, hurdle after hurdle of dysfunction is severely inhibiting us from getting donated masks to those in need.

Here’s a catalog of all the ways various forces conspire against this effort at EVERY level: [...]

– All 50 states, Federal agencies, hospitals, NGOs, and businesses bid against each other, pushing prices up

– US authorities punishes anyone for “price gouging” so importers and suppliers are reluctant to order PPEs from vendors for fear of being penalized

– As a result, US importers and suppliers of N95 masks get outbid by foreign competitors so the US loses out

– Because there are no export controls, local supplies of N95 masks get purchased by foreign buyers and are exported [...]
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:25 PM on April 4

I Spent A Day In The Coronavirus-Driven Feeding Frenzy Of N95 Mask Sellers And Buyers And This Is What I Learned (David Desalvo, Forbes)
In the interest of brevity, I’m going to summarize what I learned below and then jump into a bit more detail.

- Millions of N95 masks have been available throughout the U.S., Canada and the UK during the pandemic, according to brokers trying to sell them.

- The high price point per mask, driven by extreme demand, has contributed to an overwhelmed reaction among potential buyers, especially in the U.S.

- Scrutiny surrounding these deals is high because of ongoing scams and claims of price-gouging, both of which are triggering emotionally charged reactions and fear of making deals.

- Millions of masks are being purchased by foreign buyers and are leaving the country, according to the brokers, while the domestic need remains alarmingly high.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:29 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]

More from the Desalvo article:
My main contact in this frenzy was a medical supplies broker named Remington Schmidt who spends nearly every working hour of the day on phone calls trying to make deals between potential buyers and sellers with personal protective equipment (PPE) available to sell in the U.S. and abroad. [...]

When contacting potential buyers, Remington needs two things to secure a deal with a seller: a letter of intent to purchase and proof of funds.

“If you are working with a seller who has masks but you can’t quickly show proof of funds, someone else is going to buy them,” he told me.

And I watched that happen repeatedly throughout the day. Buyers from state procurement departments and hospital systems expressed desperate need for masks, but the deals bogged down when it came to providing proof that they could commit and follow through. In the meantime, another buyer provided proof of funds and the masks were gone, sometimes within the hour.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:29 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]

Health Canada told Canadian makers to stand down from makerspace PPE: 3D printing and other manufacturing of personal protective equipment in response to COVID-19 — basically, if it doesn't meet the standards and hasn't received certification, you're wasting careworkers' time and risking lives.

It's a stressful time to be someone publicly aligned with 3d printing, let me tell you.
posted by scruss at 4:01 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]

- Millions of N95 masks have been available throughout the U.S., Canada and the UK during the pandemic, according to brokers trying to sell them.

- The high price point per mask, driven by extreme demand, has contributed to an overwhelmed reaction among potential buyers, especially in the U.S.

- Scrutiny surrounding these deals is high because of ongoing scams and claims of price-gouging, both of which are triggering emotionally charged reactions and fear of making deals.

- Millions of masks are being purchased by foreign buyers and are leaving the country, according to the brokers, while the domestic need remains alarmingly high.

The emotionally charged reactions could be coming from "Individuals want to do the right thing, but the systems in which they operate are hamstrung by rules that weren’t created to approve enormous transactions in hours or less." It sounds like there's no way hospitals and states have any possible way of winning this unless someone helps them, and the only someone who can doesn't want to, which will result in thousands to millions of unnecessary deaths. Who wouldn't be emotional?
posted by bleep at 4:58 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]

Not to mention when a deal does actually go through the shipments are being confiscated by the government. How is this not attempting a genocide?
posted by bleep at 5:02 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]

Looking through the Stanford Medicine document, is there any information out there on imparting an appropriate static charge to homemade masks or filter inserts?

Repeating this, at risk of coming off as realfuckingdumb. (Better here than EEVblog.)

It would be a negative charge, yes? How is it made persistent after disconnection from the supply?
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:41 PM on April 4

Things are so whacked out about masks that I've begun seeing 3M commercials on the TV.
posted by rhizome at 11:01 PM on April 4

Pentagon to announce new face mask guidance: Esper

The Pentagon will soon announce a new policy requiring face masks for military personnel, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "We will have a directive coming up on that today...Now we're going to move towards face covering."
posted by mediareport at 8:57 AM on April 5

What’s Up with the Feds Seizing PPE Shipments to States and Hospitals? (Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo)
Let’s talk about these seizures of PPE goods by federal authorities. There are a number of instances of this and as I noted in the post below a number of reasons why it might be happening. There are numerous cases where orders placed by states or hospitals have been canceled after they have been outbid by federal authorities or federal authorities have ordered vendors to sell to the federal government. According to Kaiser Health News, those compelled sales appear to be pursuant to an executive order President Trump signed on March 18th under authorities granted by the Defense Production Act.

But what I’m more interested in are reports of federal authorities confiscating physical shipments en route to states, local governments or regional hospital systems. The most publicized case of this came at some point in March when, according to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a shipment of 3 million masks ordered through BJ’s Wholesale was seized by federal authorities in the Port of New York. Baker did not say which agency confiscated the goods or under what authority. That incident was what led to the widely reported and successful effort to fly goods in from China using the New England Patriots jet.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:27 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]

Bias tape is my nemesis. Does it really matter if I cut it on the bias, for mask ties? Cutting from selvedge to selvedge is more efficient.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:38 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]

Probably not though I would experiment with a particular material. I’d worry about whether the knots hold and whether they can be untied after being under strain.

Failing that, do you know the tube trick for cutting lots of bias?
posted by clew at 9:44 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]

If you want any stretch in the ties, you'll want them bias-cut. When I'm sewing bias binding, I find it helps to dampen before folding and then iron it dry before stitching. Also fold very gently but iron firmly.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:52 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]

I don't think I do want any stretch in the ties -- it helps the mask get looser as I warm up, which is exactly when I'm mid-errand and don't want to be fussing with it. In fact, I think I want polyester for cloth ties because natural fibers relax more.
posted by clew at 12:12 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]

This looks like a good prose tutorial on the tube or continuous method of making bias tape; she's also recorded a video, I think. You could do a tube-and-spiral cut on a rectangular piece of cloth to make long long straight tapes.

Bias or straight tape, it's easier to fold all of a long strip at once than to do the tube-and-turn method that makes pretty spaghetti straps. There are natty little metal tape folders, but you can also make a jig with cardboard. I don't think she says, but I find it even faster to pin or weight down one end of the tape and iron away from that end in as long a pass as possible. If you have another set of hands, they could pull the ironed tape under the iron as you're feeding tape into the folder.

And remember for rectangular designs that it will be faster to sew a giant long rectangle, and then chop it into face-sized rectangles, than to cut out separate face-sized rectangles for each. (Different designs optimize for rectangles top-to-bottom or side-to-side.) If sewing by hand, put a knot in on each side of where the cuts are going to be. Also, if sewing by hand, pinning one end of a straight seam to something and sewing the whole thing under light tension works. Sewing birds, these are called, and Japanese sewing boxes often had them built in.
posted by clew at 12:51 PM on April 5 [4 favorites]

bradbane: If you have a 3D printer, this looks like the best face shield design I've seen so far. This is from the Coronavirus Makers group in Spain.

This is basically the design my University is doing; they put out a call and I'm now printing these from home.
posted by dhruva at 12:11 PM on April 6

I now have a lot of 10mm elastic. Bias tape is better, though, right?
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:46 PM on April 6

Bias tape will hold up to being washed and dried on hot better than elastic will, which is why I'm using it. (Also because I'm able to make more bias tape myself but not able to make elastic.)
posted by Lexica at 4:48 PM on April 6

(Hepa filters apparently work - also these.)

They look like they could work, if one could stop laughing about the source.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:25 PM on April 14

I haven't seen an article in English yet but the Flavio Dino the communist governor of Maranhão in the North East of Brazil has just flown in a plane load of masks and respirators from China via Ethiopia in order to avoid US piracy and his own federal authorities. Way to go.
posted by adamvasco at 2:36 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]

What the FFFFFFF are governments trying to do to us? This has to be part of a strategy. Well, it doesn't have to, but there seems to be some, uh...what I call "human experimentation" going on against the populations.
posted by rhizome at 5:35 PM on April 16

Bias tape will hold up to being washed and dried on hot better than elastic will, which is why I'm using it. (Also because I'm able to make more bias tape myself but not able to make elastic.)

Yeah, I've been using 1/4" bias tape (1" strips folded in four) and I find it gives me plenty of stretch for the ear loops. I use a 7.5" length on each side, stitched onto the mask with a 1/4-1/2" overlap. I'm running out of cute fabrics, though, and wish I could get to my quilting stash in the storage unit. Old pillowcases and outgrown dress shirts are coming in handy.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:20 PM on April 17

Well, it doesn't have to, but there seems to be some, uh...what I call "human experimentation" going on against the populations.

In all those clinical trials you're hearing about, half the subjects get a placebo.

I frankly don't understand how that's ethical under these conditions. Just give the drugs where available and see who recovers. Surely there are enough patients who aren't receiving them to compare to.

(I get that it sort of works out to the same thing on the macro level, but the uncertainty of whether one is actually receiving treatment seems more cruel than usual for some reason.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:17 AM on April 18

> I'm running out of cute fabrics, though, and wish I could get to my quilting stash in the storage unit.

I've started to use some hideous prints for one of the sides -- I'm out of solids -- which would be okay except these are masks I'm giving away and I'm a bit embarrassed that I even had these in my stash to begin with.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:21 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]

I’m using some hideous patterns with the reverse of the print as the visible side because yeah, we’re destashing the WTF? fabric first. `We' being me and my mother and her late friend who had, it turned out, not just the enormous fabric stash of a forty years domestic and exhibition quilter, but a second larger stash hidden in the crawl space. In her memory, masks!
posted by clew at 11:30 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]

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