by Anna Augart
April 15, 2020
With the high risk of patients transmitting COVID-19 to healthcare workers, hospitals are using more personal protective equipment than normal. Specifically, masks are in high demand right now because the coronavirus is an airborne disease. N95 masks are the standard for healthcare workers, since they can filter out particles much smaller than the coronavirus. However, there is a shortage of these masks, and hospitals are willing to accept whatever they can get. Some workers have even resorted to wrapping scarves around their faces for lack of better options.
You might be wondering what you can do to help. First of all, stay home! This is the best thing you can do right now. But if you want to more directly contribute to helping hospitals, you can sew your own masks. A Facebook group called the Boston Area Mask Initiative is taking orders from hospitals for masks and accepting homemade masks. They ask that the masks be made from 100% cotton fabric to comply with requests from hospitals. There are directions for making your own masks online, and once you sew a few, you can drop them off at specific locations that are provided on the Boston Area Mask Initiative Facebook page, which can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/bostonareamaskinitiative/about/.
Within the BUA community, many people are working to sew masks. Fashion Club has refocused their sewing skills to make masks. If you want guidance on sewing masks, you can join virtual Fashion Club meetings via Zoom, or contact Claire Hsu ‘23. She says that Fashion Club is “using unconventional materials like old garments and curtains to make the masks.” She also notes that to sew masks, all you need is a needle, thread and some scrap fabric, which can be used to make both the portion covering the face and the straps. You don’t need any previous sewing experience. Claire’s goal is to help as many people as she can. She says, “Every mask we make will help someone in need and might even save someone’s life.” Thank you to Claire and all of Fashion Club for their amazing efforts!