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Old 03-22-2020, 08:37 AM
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Are hospitals really seeking homemade masks?


I got an e-mail from one of my aunts, with patterns for a homemade mask design, and instructions to print it out for my mother. According to my aunt, hospitals are asking for donations of masks, even homemade ones, to deal with the shortage.

Well, if this is true, then it's a way for ordinary people to do their part to contribute. Heck, my mom could probably make hundreds a day, without even needing to go buy fabric. But I'm skeptical. Would hospitals really trust supplies of unknown provenance, made to unknown standards? The e-mail she forwarded included a cite, but it's in German, from I don't even know where. And on the off chance that it's true, how does one go about donating them?
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Old 03-22-2020, 08:42 AM
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Beggars can't be choosers.

Unfortunately we are in a situation where our medical professionals have become beggars.

Last edited by monstro; 03-22-2020 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 03-22-2020, 08:48 AM
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Our prison health units where we care for the sick folks, are out of such supplies, and our suppliers are also out. So we're left to our own devices and have been told by overall management that each different prison health unit manager and staff should try to figure out their own solution while central office tries to figure out a system-wide one.

So yes, we'd take some home made ones. They wouldn't meet N95 mask standards but ones that were made correctly would be as good as the standard barrier masks previously available at local drug stores.

"The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow. How did it come to this?"
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Old 03-22-2020, 09:23 AM
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UnityPoint - St. Luke's Hospital, Mercy Hospital [Cedar Rapids, Iowa] looking for sewing volunteers to help make masks
https://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Un...568970611.html

Here are the instructions:
https://www.unitypoint.org/cedarrapi...cal-masks.aspx
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Old 03-22-2020, 09:36 AM
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Sorry, the instructions link seems to have been removed.
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Old 03-22-2020, 10:23 AM
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Our hospitals said "No thank you". After a sewing group had started, to great fanfare on the local news, to sew hundreds. Now they say they're making them for "non-hospital aid workers"...
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Old 03-22-2020, 10:36 AM
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OK, so it's at least plausible. I'll do some poking around with the local hospitals to find out the situation around here, then.
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Old 03-22-2020, 01:41 PM
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Mostly what I've seen is that they're making them for patients/visitors to provide some protection from spray and to reserve medical masks for staff. Though considering that in some places the medical staff are being told to wear the same mask all day, clean it with hand sanitizer, or bake it, I don't know that a cloth mask is that much worse.
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Old 03-22-2020, 02:23 PM
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My daughter is an RN in a critical care unit of a large Philadelphia hospital. She and other nurses were told on Thursday the hospital had only a four day supply of masks remaining and the nurses should try to bring in scarves.

Yesterday, I dug around in my painting supplies and found two unused N95 masks. Bought a pack of three last year at Home Depot to use while sanding. My wife express mailed them along with a scarf before the post office closed yesterday.

Also at that hospital, COVID-19 tests are carefully rationed. Even when a patient shows symptoms and has a doctor's order for the test, they're mostly not given. Also, as of early last week, the test swabs were being sent to the CDC with at least a week's delay in getting results. Hopefully, PA, like NY and other states, gets a testing program going locally.

Of course members of the 76ers and other important persons got quick tests and results.
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Old 03-22-2020, 04:37 PM
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The study I saw, a randomized trial done in simpler times, found that cloth masks were essentially worthless. Medical personnel using cloth masks got sick at a significantly and importantly higher rate than those using medical grade masks. The relative risk was 13. That is huge. Subjects were 13 times more likely to get sick using cloth masks than medical ones. The cloth masks were estimated to pass 97% of particles, while medical masks only 44% of particles.

I know there is a tremendous desire to do something. I've been running Folding@home, as I may as well use the GPU in this laptop for something. In the grand scheme of things I know it won't help much at all, but it probably isn't hurting. I worry about the cloth masks in that they inundate hospitals with trash they have to deal with, or that they give them a false sense of complacency, when they are not in fact protected. That's just one study. Perhaps it is not representative of the true usefulness of homemade masks.
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Old 03-22-2020, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by echoreply View Post
The study I saw, a randomized trial done in simpler times, found that cloth masks were essentially worthless
There is no real mask to no-mask arm in that study.

Also, there is no arm where there is a vacuum clearer paper bag layer inside, as in those my wife is making.

The masks will help reduce problems from hand to face touching that is very hard for a lot of people to suppress (including me).

Remember that masks are more effective breathing out than in. And that heath care-related transmission may a major part of the problem. So it may be better than nothing for hospital workers to wear a homemade mask outside the hospital, such as when doing food shopping, and don't yet know they are infected, and may be.
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Old 03-22-2020, 05:28 PM
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Based on that study, I would put cloth masks on infectious patients, and if I had nothing else, as a HCW, I'd frequently sterilize it.
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Old 03-22-2020, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhillyGuy View Post
There is no real mask to no-mask arm in that study.

Also, there is no arm where there is a vacuum clearer paper bag layer inside, as in those my wife is making.

The masks will help reduce problems from hand to face touching that is very hard for a lot of people to suppress (including me).

Remember that masks are more effective breathing out than in. And that heath care-related transmission may a major part of the problem. So it may be better than nothing for hospital workers to wear a homemade mask outside the hospital, such as when doing food shopping, and don't yet know they are infected, and may be.
Here's a link on studies done with different DYI mask materials. While vacuum cleaner bags capture more virus than most other materials, they aren't recommended by experts because they are hard to breathe through.

Quote:
The answer lies in breathability. How easy it is to breathe through your mask is an important factor that will affect how comfortable it is. And comfort isnít merely a luxury. Comfort will influence how long you can wear your mask....Although the tea towel and the vacuum bag captured the most particles, they were also the hardest to breath through.
A two-layer mask such as the kind your wife is making would be even harder to breathe through than a single-layer vacuum bag. If someone is taking a leisurely stroll, breathability may not be as much of an issue as it would be for a nurse on the go. . Anything is better than nothing, though, and of course if people are only using masks to avoid touching their faces, any material would do.
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Old 03-22-2020, 07:10 PM
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A friend of mine is a ranking nurse at one of the local hospitals, and I just asked her. She says that the homemade ones are nearly worthless, and that her hospital is therefore not accepting them.

Ah, well, it was a thought.
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Old 03-22-2020, 07:33 PM
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A friend of mine is a ranking nurse at one of the local hospitals, and I just asked her. She says that the homemade ones are nearly worthless, and that her hospital is therefore not accepting them.
I agree that homemade masks are not for hospital use.

From the middle of an excellent New York Times story:

Quote:
American experts have divided opinions about masks, but those who have worked in Asia see their value.

There is very little data showing that flat surgical masks protect healthy individuals from disease. Nonetheless, Asian countries generally make it mandatory that people wear them. In China, the police even used drones to chase individuals down streets, ordering them to go home and mask up.

The Asian approach is less about data than it is about crowd psychology, experts explained.

All experts agree that the sick must wear masks to keep in their coughs. But if a mask indicates that the wearer is sick, many people will be reluctant to wear one. If everyone is required to wear masks, the sick automatically have one on and there is no stigma attached.
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:08 AM
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I saw on the news this morning that Prime Time "hospital dramas" (Grey's Anatomy, The Good Doctor, etc) on hiatus are donating all regulation PPEs to local hospitals and first responders.

Bravo!


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