Don't Have A Mask? Find Something Else To Use To Cover Your Face

WWJ News
April 04, 2020 - 1:19 pm

(WWJ) If you don't have a mask, look around your house for something else you can use to cover your face. 

That's the directive from Oakland County Executive David Coulter, in his outbreak update Friday, as he was seeing off several pilots flying to Muncie, Indiana, to pick up 12,000 medical face shields.

Medical masks, particularly N95 respirators, are in short supply.  And while Coulter acknowledged not everyone can get a hold of one, he said:

"In public, when you go to the grocery store, when you go to the pharmacy, if you have a bandanna, or a soft mask, like a surgical mask, I think it's time that we start to institute those practices."

Counter's message came just a couple of hours ahead of a similar "optional" recommendation from the CDC; which many had expected was coming.

The new CDC guidelines do not detail the kind of face covering recommended beyond saying: "cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure."

\Some in metro Detroit have been sewing and selling their own fabric masks. There are many homemade masks for sale at Etsy.com; although the makers note that the masks are not promised to protect a wearer from illness.

Other suggestions have included a scarf you may already own.

Coulter stressed these masks are not necessarily for the wearer's protection, but to protect others in the community.

"One of the things that we've learned about this virus is that you can have it before you have symptoms, maybe for up to a couple of days," he said. "If you wear a mask or a bandanna or something when you go out, if you happen to be positive and don't know it, it will help protect those folks from you, frankly."

At last count, Oakland County had 2,540 cases of the virus and 136 deaths.

President Donald Trump said Friday his administration is encouraging many Americans to wear face masks in public, although he stressed that the recommendation is optional, conceding that he will not be complying with it. “You can do it. You don’t have to do it. I’m choosing not to do it,” Trump said. “It’s only a recommendation.”

At the same time, Trump stressed that medical masks should be reserved for health care workers and that masks are not a substitute for social distancing.