Masks in the Time of COVID-19

No agreement existed about the benefits of masks early in this pandemic, and conflicting advice confused everyone. But now the science is clear – face coverings provide a serious impediment to the spread of the coronavirus. It’s both considerate to others and safer to wear one.

It seems tedious and disheartening and idiotic that this has become another national divide. If we now announce our political leaning by our PPE, I’m glad to be on the common sense, science-supported side of the debate. (And I don’t have antibodies – whatever felled me in March didn’t give me superblood.)

In this interesting discussion of mask wearing by Rachel Sugar, writing in Vox, psychologists weigh in on the social ramifications of losing easy smiles and revealing only the top of faces (where we signal anger and fear), and designers discuss masks as fashion statements in our sure-to-be-mask-wearing future. (

I’m still making masks – more than 200 now, thanks to fabric from my generous Alaska neighbor – working through her second stash of colorful patterns, including grizzly bears and moose. Through the Lt. Governor’s initiative, I mostly send to Volunteer Kitsap, which coordinates helping organizations in this part of the state.

And friends still request them. Right at the start of the Black Lives Matter protests a friend asked for six more masks, and offered a donation to a favorite cause in return. She contributed to a Go Fund Me for a vandalized Atlanta dress shop, and her sister, who received some of the masks, also donated – to a protest bail fund. Another friend sent to Obama’s Meet Anguish With Action fund.

That seems a good circle.

When they send photos, it’s fun to see how people wear the masks. Cotton masks wash well (and help eliminate some of the mounds of waste generated by disposable masks) – but can offer a conundrum for comfort. With a label I tried to explain how to determine which side up and out for best fit over one’s nose.

And the ties present difficulties (but also launder better than elastic, which is still rationed at our fabric store). People adapt – ponytail or bun wearers do best, top string tied jauntily on top, and a friend wears his with the top tie over his ears then both ties fastened low down on the back of his head.

A useful and clever suggestion comes from a teenager (of course). Her mother showed her the masks, she said, “that won’t work,” and proceeded to knot permanent ear loops exactly to fit her – then tie both strings at the back of her head under a shiny teenage mane!


7 thoughts on “Masks in the Time of COVID-19

  1. We are enjoying our Katy masks and the Jana fabrics… Alaska still a part of daily life… thank you for donation suggestions.

    • I didn’t mean that as a directive for sure!! I was happy to make you masks. I only wrote about it here because I loved my mask making becoming some little part of fight for racial justice. Xo

  2. That smart teen you are lucky to call a friend had a wonderful idea. Thanks to her for sharing.

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Us old folks are lucky that we can go places and mask up when we need to. I actually enjoy wearing a mask these days, and find the cotton ones really comfortable (and now that my uncut hair is a good ponytail length, mask adjustments are much easier.) But there are people, like my son, who works in customer service at a big box store, who have to contend with customers who don’t wear masks, who complain a lot (and often very loudly) and try to sneak their heads around the glass barrier to hear and be heard better. Like many people – some of them old like me – he puts himself at risk every day, and it makes me really resent those who aren’t considerate enough to cover their big mouths. So there! Thanks for making all those masks, Katy. You done good. xoxo

  4. Keep sewing Katy! I feel lucky to be part of your tribe of friends ❤️ Let me know if your stash needs refreshening.

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