Keep Yourself & Others Safe: Wear a Mask (video)

Rep. Pam Powers Hannley in facemask

It’s been almost exactly a month since the Arizona Legislature adjourned on March 23. Jim and I have been social distancing, sheltering in place, cooking three meals a day, limiting shopping trips, and wearing masks and gloves when we do go out. We are healthy, and I hope you are, too.

There have been protests recently — including one today (April 20) at the Arizona Capitol– regarding opening up the economy and letting other businesses, besides essential services, open their doors and get back to business as usual. That would be premature. Across the country and the state, COVID19 testing, surveillance, and contract tracing have been patchy at best. We really don’t know the extent of the spread of the virus because we are still primarily testing the sickest people with a set of specific symptoms.

We are learning as we study the spread of this disease that many people can be Coronavirus carriers and have no symptoms. Great for them but bad for the rest of us because these seemingly healthy people can infect others. The data from the Princess cruise ship and from the naval ship revealed that many people onboard who tested positive for COVID19 had no symptoms. On the Princess, 18 percent of the people who tested positive for COVID-19 had no symptoms. On the naval aircraft carrier, 60 percent of the 600 sailors tested positive but had no symptoms.

Since asymptomatic but contagious people are among us, that underscores the need for continued shelter in place practices, social distancing, and wearing masks in public.

Making Masks

If you follow me on Facebook and Instagram, you know that I have joined the ranks of people making cloth facemasks to give away. I am a fourth generation quilter, and I became interested in giving back to the community by making masks after I watched the now famous Deaconess health systems How to Make a Face Mask video.

I can’t control the President, the Governor, the Congress, the Legislature, or the Coronavirus, but I can control my response to the uncertainty that lies before us.

Zen masters counsel us to “be here now”—to live in the moment and be thankful for now. We choose how we react to now… how we react to today. Many of us are staying home… alone or with friends, family, or pets. We can spend our days worrying about the past or the future, which are out of our control, or we can focus on now and spend our days doing something that brings joy and helps others.

This is why I am sewing and giving away face masks as a random act of kindness. I am using my sewing skills and my stockpile of quilt fabrics to promote staying at home and wearing cloth face masks when you have to go out for groceries or go to work. Cloth face masks don’t offer the same protection as surgical masks or the N95 masks, but if enough of us wear some type of mask (even a cloth mask) when we are out in public, they will protect us coughing– or otherwise expelling germs– on each other. Masks also help people from touching their faces and spreading germs that way.

Please stay home during the COVID-19pandemic. If you have to go out, wear a mask and gloves to protect yourself and others. If you are a worker in an essential service, thank you so much for your service. I hope that your employers are providing protective gear and proper preventive procedures for you and your co-workers.

We are all in this together. For masks, there are a variety of vendors selling masks online. Local artists, crafters, and volunteers are making masks for sale or donation.

Take care and be well…

Recent News Articles

Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19, CDC.

Many of Pima County’s coronavirus deaths are from a single Tucson nursing home, source says, AZCentral, April 18, 2020.

29 Dead at One Nursing Home From the Virus. Or More. No One Will Say., New York Times, April 16, 2020. (This is the same nursing home chain as in the Tucson facility featured in AZCentral story above.)

Protesters hold rally near Arizona Capitol, calling for end of stay-at-home order, AZCentral, April 20, 2020.

Antibody Test, Seen as Key to Reopening Country, Does Not Yet Deliver, New York Times, April 19, 2020.

F.D.A. Approves First Coronavirus Antibody Test in U.S. New York Times, April 2, 2020

I Took the Antibody Test. And Yet. I still don’t know what I need to about the coronavirus, New York Times, April 15, 2020.

What the cruise-ship outbreaks reveal about COVID-19, Nature, March 26, 2020.