Pandemic: For the Love of All That’s Holy – STAY HOME, and Sew a Mask

Everything that happened to China and Italy and now Spain and much of the rest of Europe is happening here too.

After we’re on the other side of the tsunami that is rushing over us, we can talk about how we got here and why, but right now, none of that is important. What IS critically important is what we do right now. Today – this hour!

Everyone knows about covering a cough, washing hands and to some extent, social distancing, but not everyone is taking social distancing seriously.

Whether they don’t believe the authorities are correct, think they are invincible or something else isn’t for me to say. What I am saying is one thing – this pandemic isn’t just coming, it’s here. There’s no discussion anymore about maybe. The only debate left now is how many will die.

Covid March Michigan

Here’s the chart for Michigan. The very first case was less than 2 weeks ago. Beginning on the 17th, the cases began increasing rapidly every day, and on the 18th, the first death. Southeast Michigan hospitals are already out of ventilators for patients and masks for staff.

The Michigan governor ordered:

  • Schools closed on March 13th
  • Restaurants and bars to close to the public, open only for takeout on March 16, along with restrictions of public gatherings
  • Shelter-in-place lockdown today, March 23rd

New York is ahead of Michigan in terms of infections and deaths, as are a few other states, but many are not. Don’t think it won’t arrive – it already has. Look here for the state by state cases.

There is no consistent survival directive for the entire US. Each state and sometimes each city or county is left to its own devices to decide what to do, and when.

However, you are in charge of you, and possibly of other people too – family members. Those you can’t control, you may be able to influence.

The most important thing you can do, and people’s lives depend on it is…

Covid stay home

Right now, there is nothing more important. If everyone simply stayed home for the next 2 or 3 weeks while the cases currently developing worked their way through the system, we’d see a downturn in 3 weeks.

If we don’t, the cases will continue rise and the outcome will be catastrophic, like we’re seeing in Italy right now.

Remember, you’re contagious for as long as 2 weeks before you actually exhibit symptoms. You may have a mild case of the illness and not know it – meaning you’re contagious for a lot longer than 2 weeks.

You will be touching doors and other public places during that time, unaware that you are infecting others.

NOW YOU KNOW

Now that you know, you’re responsible for protecting yourself from becoming infected which means you’re also protecting others – your family, your neighbors, friends and the vulnerable population.

Everyone over 60 is considered vulnerable, but they aren’t the only ones. Many people have diseases or conditions you can’t see, like asthma or diabetes. If you risk being contaminated, you risk the health of everyone else too.

And you risk killing your own family members.

People Are Dying

In the past couple of days, this insidious virus has moved from the threatening to the deadly. I know people who have it. My friend’s nephew, a physician. Another friend’s neighbor died. This is just the beginning and there is still time to avoid the worst outcomes.

This virus is real, deadly and here.

The people who die and have already died will probably never know HOW they were exposed to the virus, because it was likely from someone else who didn’t know they were ill yet.

Illness and deaths today are reflective of what was happening 2-4 weeks ago – the day before that first case was reported in Michigan. All of these cases were percolating among the population at that time – deadly time bombs. We just didn’t know it.

Be a Hero

It’s never been easier to be a hero – because all you literally have to do is nothing. Sit on the couch.

Only go out when necessary, and then keep a distance of 6 feet. Practice pandemic hygiene.

We’ve limited our trips out to once a week, and only then if necessary. No, buying a newspaper or your child having a play-date is not necessary. Neither is buying a lottery ticket. Besides that, you’re much more likely to get exposed to Covid than win. 

Yes, working one of the essential jobs is necessary.

You may also be able to do things to help out.

Urgent Need – Masks!!

Project N95 was begun just 72 hours ago as an entirely volunteer effort to coordinate the need and delivery of N95 (covid) masks and other personal protective gear for our medical professionals. Click here to see what’s needed and where.

An army of sewers and quilters have taken up the mantle to provide masks to individuals who need masks, but not necessarily the Covid-19 masks, freeing up those masks for those who really do need them.

If you would like to help with a donation of material, time, money or sewing masks, please coordinate to be sure that the masks are being accepted by a facility near you. Also, note that elastic does not survive an autoclave. I’ve been using bias tape for the ties or t-shirt material which is stretchy and doesn’t fray.

Some institutions only accept specific patterns, so don’t start sewing with great intentions only to have your masks be rejected or thrown away.

Here’s a FaceBook group, COVID Mask Crafters, that is coordinating request, supplies, sewing and distribution efforts.

JoAnn Fabric in many locations is coordinating both requests and masks through their local stores. Some are even providing free kits for people willing to make the masks.

Covid masks

EQuilter has provided this information:

Dear Sewing Community,

Passing on this message:

There is a critical shortage of face masks for health professionals and first-responders.

We have been asked to mobilize our community to do what we do best: sew.

We are calling on you all now to share the “Keep Calm and Sew a Mask” campaign on all of your social media platforms.

There is a tremendous need for masks that tie at the top and the bottom, as seen above.

A large hospital uses hundreds of thousands of masks a week — so we need to move as quickly as we can.

To start making an impact, get your materials ready and click the link below:
https://freesewing.org/docs/patterns/fu/instructions/

Also see these crucial details offered by our friend Rachel Wallis:
https://docs.google.com/…/15Y2_5fFWuog_o4q3CjhpdfFC8LX…/edit

Many thanks to Andover Fabrics for sharing this today.

Providence Hospital is desperately asking for people who sew to join their “100 Million Masks” challenge.

Call your local hospital, EMTs, police and firefighters, doctors’ offices, senior living facilities, rehabilitation facilities or elder-care facilities. Masks are needed for so many people in our health care system, including janitorial staff.

Opportunities to Help

How else might you be able to help?

Local Businesses

Restaurants are still open for takeout in most places. Not only do people need to eat, but supporting restaurants reduces the economic impact at least to some extent. Business like GrubHub and delivery services are functioning in most places as well as grocery shopping and shipping services.

Many restaurants have implemented a curbside pickup and no-contact delivery.

Many times restaurant staff and gig-workers have few or no benefits like sick time, paid vacation or insurance and often depend heavily on tips. Be as generous and patient as you can be.

The Vulnerable

Call your neighbors, especially anyone who is a little older, lives alone or who is vulnerable. Ask if they need assistance with shopping or picking up medications. They may not know how to order online delivery or be comfortable doing do. You can pick up their groceries when you pick up your own and drop them off on their doorstep.

They may also be lonely and frightened, isolated from their family as well, and a friendly voice may be quite welcome.

What Else?

What else can you think of to do to help?

We are all in this together and we need to do what we can, individually.

Heroes

I want to say a very special thank you to medical professionals – our doctors, nurses and first-responders along with all of the other people who make their jobs possible. People you don’t necessarily think about or see, but people who are at risk of contracting the virus by virtue of working in a hospital or medical setting. Everyone from receptionists to nurses aids to lab personnel to cooks in the hospital kitchens to cleaning staff.

Medical facilities simply cannot run without these people and we need them so desperately. They are risking their lives every single day right now to go to work and care for ill people.

Let’s all of us do our part by making sure we aren’t exposed, and exposing them, any more than possible – just stay home and practice your best couch potato, read a book, do some genealogy or sew a mask.

Please share this article.

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10 thoughts on “Pandemic: For the Love of All That’s Holy – STAY HOME, and Sew a Mask

  1. Thanks for all the info! I clicked on the Providence link and they do not need help. I’m glad they have found a way to get many made quickly.

  2. We also need to be careful not to socially punish people that do go out without first assessing their actual “threat” to society. A Non-PPE mask worn by those uncertain of their carrier status is as important as the “6 foot rule”, and wearing gloves is as well.

    It’s natural to think in terms of “us” getting something by being exposed to “them” but not so much thinking “we” may have something (and not know it) and doing something to protect “them” from us.

  3. I have relatives on the island just south of Singapore. LAST WEEK Malaysia went on total lock-down. Food is by delivery only. Anyone caught outside has to have a really BIG reason for being out because the streets are being monitored by police. For those not geographically in the know, Malaysia is near China and is frequently visited by Chinese nationals. When this whole thing began Malaysia took big time precautions. They had teams of people meticulously wiping down door-handles, etc. and they avoided the worst back then. But now it’s beginning again in the same area of the world. Since this thing seems to mutate and some “strains” seem to be more harmful than others, it seems prudent to assume that we in the U.S. may see this continue for months, not weeks. There’s also a senator in his 70’s saying that everything should just go back to the way it was…that people die and we should just let nature take its course. I wonder if he would feel the same way if one of his grandchildren died from this! I’m in Kansas and the governor closed all the schools and universities several weeks ago. Students are studying on line and schools will not re-open before the end of the school year. Critics thought it was too much too soon but I felt it was a brilliant move! It’s a shame that a country like ours is getting beaten up because of political infighting, erroneous and misleading information, and what appears to be a “just let the old people die” attitude. I’m pretty much apolitical…just want what’s best for everyone. But I have to say, it’s quite difficult to reconcile what’s happening on both sides of the political isle right now. We all need to do our part, no matter our age. Here, our school bus drivers are delivering breakfast and lunch to families in need. The food is prepped and donated by “closed” restaurants, etc. Sewing masks is a great idea too. Anything to help those selflessly trying to help others should receive priority help themselves!

  4. A couple of my ancestors died at a fairly young age in the 1919-1920 era. I wouldn’t doubt that Spanish Flu was involved. People accepted those things; lots of our forebears died young. I guess you mourned and moved on.

  5. As you all know, Washington state, and more specifically Kirkland, a suburb of Seattle in King County, was the earliest hotspot in the country for the COVID-19 virus. I live in Kirkland, just a few blocks from Life Care of Kirkland, the nursing home where the greatest concentration of early cases and deaths occurred. The CDC sent a team of inspectors to this facility and others in the area around March 8th; its report, now a week old, was issued March 18. The report states,

    “Introduction of COVID-19 into a long-term residential care facility in Washington resulted in cases among 81 residents, 34 staff members, and 14 visitors; 23 persons died. Limitations in effective infection control and prevention and staff members working in multiple facilities contributed to intra-and interfacility spread,”

    Most importantly for those who believe this was just an issue for the elderly patients at this facility, the report notes that the median age for the staff members who tested positive was 42. They and the facility visitors came and went, unrestricted for several weeks, shopping, dining, meeting with friends and family, until the virus, as it has across the country, spread far beyond those initially exposed. As of today, March 24, King County alone has 1,277 cases of the virus and has reported 94 deaths. Washington state’s total of cases is 2,469, with the statewide death toll at 123.

    Thank you Roberta for your passionate warnings and admonitions. Let us all pray we and our families remain healthy through this crisis. It too shall pass.

    • Thank you Mark. I hope things are getting better there now, as the rest of the country faces the same devastating virus. This too shall pass, but sadly, along with it, some of our family members.

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