In a statement, the CDC explained that it's found that the virus can “spread between people interacting in close proximity,” and that wearing a face mask is recommended in public settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies.
“At this point, there really seems to be no question that everybody should be wearing a mask to protect themselves and more importantly, to protect their community,” Jeremy Howard, research scientist at the University of San Francisco said, “when you’re talking bits of saliva come out of your mouth, you don’t even see them.”
While the use of masks becomes the new normal, the reality is that it can be difficult in many areas to find one to purchase.
But experts say that you can still protect your face with other types of face covers even if they are non-medical grade. The CDC states medical-grade masks including surgical and N95 masks must be reserved for health care workers currently facing a dire shortage of protective equipment.
“You are not doing surgery at home or during your shopping. So you don’t need these masks,” said Howard. “They are harder to fit. They are less comfortable.”
Instead, a piece of fabric made with cotton or an old sheet would work just fine. Howard also recommended a bandana or a scarf -- any material that will allow you to breathe while wearing it while covering your nose. A plus if the material is able to stop liquid.
Here are some tutorials to make a face cover
For the proficient sewer, a basic pattern involves two layers of fabric, 3 folds and elastic to go around the ears. You can either use a sewing machine or hand sew the face cover together -- it might just take a little longer. Deaconess Hospital provides instructions on how to make a face covers with ties on their website.
Another tutorial shows that you can forgo sewing by cutting up an old t-shirt together and tying the ends together.
Or if you are in a pinch and sewing is not your thing, a simple bandana with two hair ties works perfectly.