The New Jersey, New York and Connecticut governors have signed executive orders mandating all residents to wear cloth face masks in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, for example at grocery stores and pharmacies, and especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
The use of simple masks, says the CDC, can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.
Below are tips on how to wear the cloth face masks:
Cloth face coverings should:
– Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face;
– Be secured with ties or ear loops;
– Include multiple layers of fabric;
– Allow for breathing without restriction;
– Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape;
– Additionally, cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under the age of 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
CDC guidelines do not recommend that people wear surgical masks or N95 respirators, as those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and first responders.
According to the CDC, the cloth masks should be routinely washed, and a washing machine should suffice in properly washing it.
When removing a used cloth mask, individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing.
INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE CLOTH MASKS:
Sewn cloth face covering
– Two 10”x6” rectangles of cotton fabric
– Two 6” pieces of elastic (or rubber bands, string, cloth strips, or hair ties)
– Needle and thread (or bobby pin)
– Sewing machine
1. Cut out two 10-by-6-inch rectangles of cotton fabric. Use tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets. T-shirt fabric will work in a pinch. Stack the two rectangles; you will sew the mask as if it was a single piece of fabric.
2. Fold over the long sides 1/4-inch and hem. Then fold the double layer of fabric over 1/2-inch along the short sides and stitch down.
3. Run a 6-inch length of 1/8-inch wide elastic through the wider hem on each side of the mask. These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle or a bobby pin to thread it through. Tie the ends tight. Don’t have elastic? Use hair ties or elastic head bands. If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the mask behind your head.
4. Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the mask on the elastic and adjust so the mask fits your face. Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping.
Quick cut T-shirt face covering (no sew method)
Bandana Face Covering (no sew method)
– Bandana (or square cotton cloth approximately 20”x20”)
– Coffee filter
– Rubber bands (or hair ties)
– Scissors (if you are cutting your own cloth)
1. Cut coffee filter.
2. Fold bandana in half.
3. Fold filter in center of folded bandanna. Fold top down. Fold bottom up.
4. Place rubber bands or hair ties about 6 inches apart.
5. Fold side to the middle and tuck.
6. Put the rubber bands around ears.
7. Adjust cloth around mouth.
In this video, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams demonstrates how to make a mask from an old T-shirt.