The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that all people should wear non-medical face coverings or masks in public as a way to possibly slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Metro is following suit. We, too, now recommend that all transit riders wear face coverings and masks on our buses and trains. The agency continues to work to provide and procure as many face masks as possible for its frontline workforce.
Please note that face coverings and masks do not replace other public health hygiene practices. We ask everyone to continue limiting travel to only essential trips, maintain physical distance from others, wash hands frequently and use other good hygiene practices.
Although much needs to be learned about the coronavirus, it is known that the virus spreads via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Face coverings and masks help prevent those who have the coronavirus but aren’t showing any symptoms from infecting others. As one doctor explained to the New York Times, “when someone who’s infected is wearing a mask, they’re much less likely to transmit infection.”
As you have likely read, there is a shortage of masks at stores and online retailers. Health officials and retailers are also, and appropriately, saving the highest quality masks (especially the N-95 type) for hospital workers and those in the healthcare fields.
If you can’t buy a mask you can definitely make one. Most experts say that a variety of materials — ranging from cotton T-shirts to bandanas to gaiters — can be made into a face covering or mask and will at least afford some level of protection. If you can sew, that’s great.
In addition to the above video, there are plenty of online guides and videos to making a face mask or covering:
•This report from ABC News includes a trio of videos on DIY masks.
•This Instagram video shows how to make a face covering out of a bandana or scarf and two rubber bands.
We want to repeat that a face covering, or mask is not a substitute for social distancing, but it is a way to help protect yourself and others while in public spaces. So, if you can stay home, stay home! If not, consider covering up before heading out.