Covid-19 masks – you are doing it wrong!
“The average person touches their face two or three thousand times a day… three to five times every minute. In between that we’re touching doorknobs, water fountains, and each other.” Dr. Erin Mears | Contagion
Stop. Touching. Your. Face.
Look, I get it. I don’t think there is a single person who actually enjoys wearing a face mask, whether it be a homemade reusable washable cloth mask, a disposable medical style mask, a super duper N95 mask or a simple two layer bandanna wrapped around the head. Nobody likes it.
And I hate being lied to. I started wearing my own home sewn face masks as soon as the CDC and the WHO and whomever else said we should NOT wear masks back in February or March. Face masks would not prevent the general public from getting this new coronavirus. Masks only worked for medical personal who were in direct contact with WuFlu patients. Plus, wearing a mask if you were not a doctor or a nurse was incredibly DANGEROUS. Now of course we knew the powers that be were lying to people to get them to not buy masks, The shortage of PPE was nuts and the doctors and nurses really needed them… why couldn’t they have just SAID that. How stupid did they think we are? Covid-19 is smart enough to only attack people with medical degrees and will leave everyone else alone? Really? Later the guidelines were changed and we were told we SHOULD wear a face covering of some sort, not to protect us but to protect others. That a simple mask or bandanna would prevent us from infecting Grandma or the bus driver or the cashier at the grocery store. It was stressed that the same exact piece of cloth or fiber would *not* protect us from being infected with the China Virus. Only if everyone else around us was wearing a face mask would we be saved from infection. Really? So now Covid19 can tell direction? If exhaled from the respiratory system and immediately encountering some sort of a cloth or fiber barrier, the virus will stop dead in it’s tracks *but* if exhaled without a barrier in front of it, the virus can now locate the one person in the room who is wearing a mask, burrow through the threads and infect their respiratory system…? Really?
But I digress in my anger and disgust. Let us get back to the subject at hand. If you are wearing a face mask or covering due to Covid-19, please stop touching your face. Masks are not magic and do not make you impervious to infection. Consider everything you are touching while you are outside of your home. Any of it can be contaminated with the corona virus and when you touch the object, also known as a fomite, the virus could transfer from the fomite to the skin on your hands or the gloves if you are wearing them. If you now touch your face with your hand or glove, especially the mouth, nose or eye areas, BOOM you have just potentially infected yourself with WuFlu.
Don’t take your mask off and put it back on, over and over again throughout the day because, that’s right, your fingers are potentially covered in virus and you just transferred it to the mask. Don’t pull down your mask or unhook it from one ear so you can scratch your nose or rub your eye with the other hand. Don’t pull the mask down below your nose so you can breath easier. That totally defeats the whole point of the face mask. While your nose is uncovered, you could be either breathing in the virus or exhaling Covid-19 virus through the nostrils. Covering just your mouth is not a magic weapon that kills any virus near your face.
I get it. You don’t like being told what to do. I don’t either. I believe I mentioned that I started wearing my homemade cloth masks right about when the bigwigs told me I shouldn’t. Not many of us were wearing masks at that point and the whole thing was surreal. On the other hand, as a sci-fi geek, I’ve read enough pandemic TEOTWAWKI books to know that they hardly ever end well for humanity. First, tell the masses they shouldn’t wear a mask to protect themselves from the zombie virus in order to prevent panic. Then… well then everything goes to hell really fast! I had been watching this virus since the first week or two of January and I didn’t like it one bit. Anyway, I was already wearing masks on the bus and in the grocery stores as I went out foraging for supplies when suddenly the announcement came that face coverings of some sort were now mandated for all public transportation and inside any business that was allowed to operate. I didn’t like that at all. Part of me wanted to stop wearing my coronavirus masks immediately. I hated that the same government officials who tried to placate me by swearing that wearing a mask was actually BAD were now telling me I must wear a mask “for the good of others.” No, buddy, I’m wearing them to protect ME, same as when I started wearing them back in late winter. I hate being told what to do. Even if I’m already doing it. During a global pandemic.
It’s not that I’m selfish but gosh durn, hoping to appeal to people’s better nature by telling them wearing a mask is to protect others and we are all in this together… nope. Seriously, there are a lot of people who, based on that justification for wearing a Covid-19 mask, obviously don’t give two shakes about anyone else. Which is exactly why I took personal responsibility when I masked up early.
SOME EXAMPLES OF BAD MASK ETIQUETTE AS I PERSONALLY OBSERVED THEM
Folks fall into a couple of categories when wearing masks incorrectly: 1. Does not have the necessary knowledge 2. Rebellious by nature 3. Immune to any danger, obviously 4. Doesn’t give two sh!ts 5. Ooops! I forgot for a moment and did something the old normal way.
Early on, when it was just me and the bus driver wearing our pandemic masks, I watched him in the mirror as he unhooked one ear, let the mask fall to the other side, then rubbed his eye with his knuckles, before putting the mask back on and crimping it on his nose. I cringed inside, but I didn’t say a word.
Four dudes went to the deli at the back of the grocery store, shortly after masks became mandatory. They left before me with their lunch items. When I walked out, I turned the corner and saw all four of them now sitting at together at a picnic table, masks pulled down, eating and talking way closer than six feet apart. I didn’t saw a word. I’m not that chick. But I may have accidentally looked horrified.
In a CVS I watched an employee “disinfecting” the store. She had one wipe/rag and carefully wiped down one cart, then another cart and, with the same rag, proceeded to clean the self check out stations AND the credit card stations on the newly installed tables angled between customers and the clerks. One rag, with never an additional spritz of cleaning solution. In essence, she was just transferring and smearing potential virus from one surface to the next and the next… And this is why I hold my own hands on the bus. I figure they are contaminated from the minute I leave my house.
Dude walking around the local mart store with his wife and child. Wife and child had their masks on and fitted properly. He had his down on his chin, just chatting away with the wife. Happy as a clam.
Another bus ride, more recently. This dude gets on and sits across from a chick. Masks on okay. They start chatting then I notice their voices suddenly got louder. I look back and they BOTH have pulled their masks down so they could speak easier. My eyes get big, I turn back around just in time to see another dude over there who has pulled his mask all the way down and a teenage girl with her nose totally exposed. THIS is why the bus has a notice “Ride At Your Own Risk” at the doors. Because a bunch of people ignore the other notice “Face must be covered at all times to ride this bus”. Gawd I hate taking the bus. Public transportation is a petri dish of virus and bacteria before Covid-19. Ick.
Very recently I watched 3 guys stroll into the grocery store ahead of me with no masks. My eyes went all horrified again – sorry I can’t help it – but as always I didn’t say a word. Just inside the entrance they donned those blue paper masks, pulled from their back pockets. I went back to the deli because I wanted some delicious coleslaw something awful. I got in line behind a lady with a cute cat mask on and we exchanged pleasantries from the obligatory six foot distance. Then I felt a presence behind me but before I could turn around heard “is this the line for the deli?” directly in my ear and I looked back to see the three guys about a foot and a half behind me. I was cringing inside. “I sure hope so” I said, turned back around and scootched forward about six inches. Nope. They didn’t get the hint. They stepped forward the same six inches so we were right back where we started. I could feel my shoulders tense and lift upward as my chin and jaw clenched. See, I’ve been a champ at social distancing before it was a thing, but there was no way out without abandoning the hope of yummy yummy coleslaw.
Look, I get it. How can we even hope that these simple masks we are wearing could prevent infection from Covid-19 when it is rumored to have been studied in a level 3 bio-hazard lab? Or level 4, I forget. Anyway, the technicians wear full on hazmat suits and bubble helmets to stay safe, like something out of the movie Outbreak. I don’t know. Maybe I feel like my three layers of boiled cotton fabric (to reduce the weave and tighten the cloth. I read it on the net back during the Anthrax scare after 9/11. Can’t find the site now but I remembered that boiling cotton tee shirt cloth will help in making handmade masks that actually work if you use several layers) hand sewn by a total science fiction geek, with an extra insert of a coffee filter to increase protection, might actually work.
And let me stress again, I don’t take the darn things off and on all day or use it all week over and over again, all used and gross. Once I get home, the coffee filter insert is removed and tossed in the trash. I scrub my hands, with soap and water, really good. Then I use an old toothbrush to pick up the mask by the elastic and move it into a plastic container. Into the container goes a few drops of dish soap and boiling water. I let it sit for an hour, then rinse with cold water, let it sit for another hour, then rinse one more time and ring the mask out and air dry it for days.
One more thing. I want to defend the people in their cars driving with their masks on who are being ridiculed and shamed by some. They may be like me when I go out to get my supplies. I put on the one mask and have no hand sanitizer. Don’t like the stuff, never have. So as soon as I walk out the door I consider myself in the Hot Zone. Everything is potentially infected. Wuhan Flu is everywhere. I am an ace at not touching my face, have been since early February. Even so I might daydream a bit and forget the pandemic for a moment so now I tend to hold my own hands while on the bus, just in case. I don’t take the mask off between stores or buses because it would just get potentially infected by my grubby CoronaVirus covered hands. So I go to location A, return to my house, dump the bags just inside the door and go back to the bus stop. Repeat for location B, C and so on. Once I’ve hit all my targets, THEN I peel off the mask, touching it only at the sides and on the outside of the fabric and proceed to wash the heck out of my hands with soap and water. And rinse super well.
So maybe that lone driver in his or her car is doing a round of stores and considers everything HOT until they are finished. That’s why they still have their mask on. Maybe. So give them a break. It’s exhausting. And so is this pandemic. No more running down to the shop to get some milk or ice cream on a whim. It’s a whole production. I figure it this way: even if I decide not to believe in the Covid-19 virus, I bet it believes in me. And when exactly did wearing a mask vs. not wearing one become a political thing? Mask wearers are leftist snowflakes and non-mask people are extreme right wing. Really? How did that happen? I’m not doing any virtual signaling, I assure you. I am just trying to not catch this damn virus. I don’t want to be walking along and suddenly have a stroke and die as my one and only corona virus symptom. Or whatever might happen in 10 years should the virus go dormant and then suddenly wake up again, ready to destroy in new and unusual ways.
The government is NOT here to save you from corona virus. They can help as they can, and please God let that be facts and not lies… But only you and I can take the measures needed to avoid getting infected the best that we can. Personal responsibility.
This wasn’t a blog post, it was my Covid-19 Rant. Because I’m just done. Stick a fork in me. Surely an actual zombie apocalypse would be easier than this sh!t???
AND STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE