In the News

  • Salt Lake Tribune Saturday, Apr. 04, 2020

    Susan R. Grayzel: Face Masks are a Cultural Phenomenon Then and Now

    As we confront an unexpected pandemic, we try to do what we can to protect ourselves and those who are dear to us. We are advised to wash our hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, to maintain at least six feet of distance between ourselves and others, and, increasingly, we are advised to wear masks. Americans were initially told that masks did little good to slow the spread of the coronavirus. We also heard that those who are well should not wear masks so that they would be available to health care workers. This always seemed contradictory. If masks aided doctors and nurses, then wouldn’t they help us? Over the last week the mainstream media has reported that masks, even simple ones made at home, could provide some protection to the wearer. How-to videos proliferate on the web and the message is becoming clear: We should all be wearing masks now. Since they are hard to find in stores, making masks at home can help us to pass the time as we shelter in place. ... We are not at war. The novel coronavirus is behaving like the pathogen it is and all of us must be part of the collective endeavor to sustain our lives and our communities. The face masks we are being asked to make and wear may, at the very least, help us to avoid touching our faces while they contain some of the spread of our virus-laden droplets. But the suggestion that we all need masks is also a reminder that, unlike many places during the Second World War, there is no official policy or reassurance about this. Nothing is being provided to those without the resources or skills to make their own masks, but who are nonetheless at risk.

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