Friday, May 29, 2020

Facing my white privilege

A road closed to thru traffic--but I drove on through.

I live without fear of consequences during most days of my life.  

This week, however, after watching George Floyd be murdered for being a black man who used a possibly fake $20 bill, I'm thinking about white privilege.  I could use the same $20 bill, deliberately or accidentally, and not lose my life during an arrest.  

When I'm hiking and come to a "Do not trespass" sign, I sometimes pass right by it to get to my destination.  I don't expect to get shot.

I like driving on a deserted country road or mountain road, going places I've never been.  I stop and take photos, unafraid of meeting a hostile stranger.  Sometimes on highways that say "No stopping" I pull over to take a photo.

I've driven through the south with bumper stickers that identify my politics, often very different from the area I'm exploring.  I don't fear for my safety when I stay in a cheap hotel.

I've never feared the police, either for myself or for something an officer might do to my husband or one of my children. None of us has been pulled over for driving while white.

Sometime I exceed the speed limit or make an illegal turn and get pulled over by an officer.  I cooperate and do not expect to be shot if I reach for my purse or to be pushed up against a wall and roughed up.

I expect being white and female to be a message others that I'm not a threat and that they should treat me with politeness, even though I'm tall and occasionally briefly mistaken for a man.

Sometimes I walk with my dog off leash, even though I know that the law requires keeping dogs on leashes.

I'm not afraid of dogs--I've never imagined that someone might sic their dog on me.

When I'm in a Target store, I browse freely in remote aisles and never get an employee tailing me to make sure I don't shoplift.  

I've never been accused of stealing something in a convenience store or clothing shop in a mall.

I've never been pulled over for driving without my headlights on or for failure to dim my headlights.

I've never been mistaken for a housekeeper in a hotel.

I've never been ignored when shopping for a car or treated like someone who is not a potential buyer.

I've never had doors closed against me because of my race.  Because of my gender, yes.  When I admitted that I was a mother of three young kids, I didn't make it far in job interviews. 

Furthermore, I've never had anyone in my family falsely accused of a crime or arrested or imprisoned for something he or she didn't do.  I don't have relatives who have been in prison except for a night or two.

My brother once told me that when he enters a room or a social situation like a swimming pool, he notices whether anyone present may be bigger and stronger than he is--whether he could defend himself if need be.  I think most black men notice these things too.

I've been afraid on a dark street at night on occasion, but I'm not usually in dangerous neighborhoods.  I haven't been raped or beaten up or even been robbed, at home or on a street. Once my car was broken into.  

Until this week, I thought my general fearlessness was something to be proud of.  I thought it was part of my personality, something I was born with.

Now I realize that this freedom from fear is mainly because I'm Caucasian--white.  

It's white privilege.  

A few months ago an African-American friend told me about being shadowed in 2020 as a possible shoplifter in a Target store--though she's a nicely dressed woman in her fifties.  She said her mother had "the talk" with her when she was 12 years old-- "Because of your race, you need to dress nicely in stores and be aware that clerks may watch you as a possible shoplifter."

I don't dress nicely except for weddings, yet I never get spied on as a potential thief.  My mother never had to have such a talk with me; in fact, she told me about the time she was a teenager and got away with shoplifting.

Some of my freedom to move about is economic privilege--not living in places where there is a high level of poverty or crime or drug use.  Well, there is a lot of drug use in West LA, but so far I haven't been robbed by someone seeking money for drugs.

This week another African-American friend told me about being pulled over by an officer when she was a teenager driving in a deserted part of town.  He threatened her, "I can do anything I want and nobody will ask any questions."  I've never been threatened by a police officer.

Now I realize why twenty years ago the husband of another African-American friend had high blood pressure and died of a heart attack in his fifties.  He lived with racism and tension and fear all his life.  

It makes sense why poor people and some black and brown people seem to be more vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus.  They have higher levels of stress, which affects one's immune system, and they may have less access to health care, healthy food, rest, exercise, etc.  People who live near a freeway or next to an oil refinery breathe in more air pollution than someone in Beverly Hills.  When they visit a doctor, their concerns may not be heard.

George Floyd was perfectly healthy, but he lost his job as a security guard when the restaurant had to close during the stay-at-home order of the Covid-19 epidemic.  Like so many, he was feeling an economic pinch.  If he had had work that could be done online, he would still have had a paycheck.  He might not have had contact with a forged $20 bill... or if a clerk did challenge him about it, he could have whipped out another $20 and used it.  Or he could have used a credit card.

He lost his life because of four racist, entitled police officers--at least one of whom wanted to harm him--and because of a $20 bill.  

I am not likely to lose my life in such a situation.  I'm still alive at almost 72, and he lost his life at age 46.  White privilege.  If I were to say, "I can't breathe," someone would intervene.

Now that I'm aware, what can I do about this inequity?

1) Respect black lives.  Honor George Floyd, Brionna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all who have lost their lives because of racist assumptions and attitudes.  Say their names.

2) Work for equity in employment, health care, housing, and every area of life.  Donate to organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center or 

3) Stand up against racism.  Speak up for people of all races in conversation and in writing.  

"Minnesota has been on fire for black people for a long time," said Paul Butler, a law professor at Georgetown University, on MSNBC yesterday when someone expressed concern about the burning 3rd precinct police department in Minneapolis. "Blacks are 20% of the population in Minnesota, but 60% of those killed by cops."  

Sometimes an uprising is needed to push for change.  A black owner of a small business watched his property burn down in Minneapolis last night.  His daughter grieves for her family's loss of their hard work and investment, but she said on MSNBC, "If our loss is part of bringing about change, I can accept that."

 4)  Also, I need to have a little more fear.  Stop trespassing or exceeding the speed limit or walking my dog without a leash.  If a darker-skinned person has to be cautious to avoid attracting attention, I should be cautious and more respectful of laws too.  

I should stop crossing boundaries while counting on my race and class to keep me safe. 

In Memoriam: George Floyd, age 46

George Floyd, selfie (Wikipedia)

For 46 years, George Floyd successfully negotiated the dangers surrounding him as an African-American in the USA.

He was born and raised in Houston, Texas.  He played several sports in high school and graduated in 1993.

"At 6 ft. 6 in, Floyd emerged as a star football player, positioned as the tight end for Jack Yates’ high school team, and played in the 1992 state championship game in the Houston Astrodome," writes Joanna Walters for The Guardian.  

He became a rapper associated with a hip hop group named Screwed Up Click--a dream come true for many young men.  He "freeestyled under the alias 'Big Floyd'on mix tapes released by DJ Screw," reports Wikipedia.  What a personality it took to succeed in that world!

He was known as "the gentle giant," but in 2007, he made a wrong move or two.  In 2009 "he was sentenced to five years in prison for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon," Wikipedia continues.

George was released in 2014 and moved to Minnesota, where some friends lived, to start a new life.  He succeeded there, working as a restaurant security guard in Minneapolis for five years.  Not everyone with a prison record gets and keeps a job and stays out of prison.

He was doing so well, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, his restaurant closed and he lost his job.  

Then on Monday, May 25, he allegedly went into a small convenience store and paid for cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill.  Did he know it was counterfeit?  The clerk called police.

He was still there, sitting in the driver's seat of an SUV parked across from the store around 8 pm, when four white officers in a police car pulled up, ordered him out of his car, and arrested him.  He appears cooperative in videos filmed by bystanders.  But soon he is on his stomach on the ground with his hands cuffed behind him. And one officer rams his knee into George's neck, keeping it there for about 8 minutes.

"Please, please, I can't breathe," he says.

"He can't breathe," say the bystanders.  "Let up on him."

"Do you think we should turn him onto his side?" suggests one of the three other police officers. But Derek Chauvin says no and keeps his knee pressed firmly against his victim's neck.

Soon George is unresponsive.  When they finally lift him onto a stretcher, his head rolls and hangs down from his lifeless body.

George Floyd was murdered, and his death-in-progress is now shown on every television screen in the nation and the world.

He leaves two daughters, one six years old and one 22 years old, both living in Houston.

Flowers to everyone who is suffering from the death of George Floyd:
I'm sorry for your loss.

He leaves a legacy:
tributes from friends, family, 
from singers and rappers, from Paris Jackson
from Beyonce, Lebron James, Whoopi Goldberg,
from ESPN personality Steven A. Smith, basketball player Steven Jackson,
from Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Cory Booker, and many others.

He also leaves protests around the USA including the burned-down 3rd precinct police station in Minneapolis where these four officers were employed.

During this week, when the number of Covid-19 deaths in the USA passed 100,000, we thought things couldn't get any worse.

But now Americans are grieving the death of George Floyd and many other African-Americans as well as our 100,000 victims to a virus:
Breonna Taylor, killed March 14 in her own bed, age 26, EMT, Louisville KY.
Ahmaud Arbery, killed Feb. 23 while jogging, age 25, Brunswick GA.
Philando Castile, killed July 6 2016, age 32, traffic stop, St. Anthony, Minnesota.
Sandra Bland, killed July 13 2015, age 28, traffic stop, Waller Co., TX.
Eric Garner, killed July 17 2014, age 43, selling cigarettes, Staten Island NY, "I can't breathe."
Michael Brown Jr., killed August 9 2014, age 18, Ferguson MO, "Hands up! Don't shoot!"

And many others.  Black lives matter.

We waited all week for these four officers to be arrested and charged.  Today Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with murder in the third degree and with manslaughter.  He could get 25 years if convicted of manslaughter--or he could get parole. 

"Black lives don't matter," says one of my friends.  Many people agree with her and are out on the streets in major cities as I sit at my PC: Louisville KY, Oakland CA, Minneapolis, Denver, Atlanta, Los Angeles... 

May Minnesota and the whole nation take significant steps toward justice.

*Thank you to Tiana Marquez of Ann Arbor, Michigan, for these beautiful flowers sent to my family in memoriam for my cousin's wife, who died on May 22.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

For better or for worse?

I have a friend in Indiana with a finger on the pulse of the "heartland."  

She writes:

I can’t predict, nor do I want to be able to predict, the future. I do think this virus could be a major turning point in the future of our country and I’m not convinced it will be for the better. 

Living in a liberal part of California, I tend to think things will turn for the better.

For example, I hear talk in the US of a universal basic income to get us through this period of unemployment.  Other countries are holding up their economy using this method.

See this article in today's LA Times   Thank you to Seema Mehta for researching and writing it.

But I will put some thought into my friend's comment that this crisis could push the country in a direction I would not welcome.

How Indiana votes, as well as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, will determine the next four years. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Praise God and pass the virus

"Church services linked to new cases" reports the Los Angeles Times this morning, just hours after I finished posting about my friends in Santa Ana whose churches remain open.  Actually the LAT article went online yesterday afternoon. 

A person received Covid-positive test results on May 11, a day after attending a Mother's Day service that attracted 180 people in Butte County in defiance of the state prohibition against large gatherings.

"...for our church it is essential to be together in fellowship," wrote the pastor of Palermo Family Bible Church on social media.  

Three more cases were traced to an unidentified church in Mendocino County after a Mother's Day service "which involved singing."  

"Praise the LORD! Sing to YHWH a new song," is now both a biblical command and illegal.  Psalms 146 to 150 are full of this admonition.  No wonder some churches see a government conspiracy. 

Singing has been suspect since last March when 45 people at church choir practice in Mt. Vernon, Washington, became infected with the virus and two died.   

Experts said at the time that it was possible that the forceful breathing action of singing dispersed viral particles in the church room that were widely inhaled," report Alex Wigglesworth and David Hernandez in the LAT article.

Two churches in San Diego County were part of the report, Rushing Wind Church in Oceanside and Hilltop Tabernacle in Chula Vista, which has been visited by police four times since late March.

A federal judge there ruled Friday that closing churches is not discrimination against religion, just "a legal use of state authority in the time of a health emergency."  

What would Jesus do?

Misinformation & religion during Covid

I first heard ideas about Covid-19 that seemed clearly wrong from from my Salvadoran friends in Santa Ana and Irvine, who used to babysit my children when they were young. 

Alicia sent me a video made by two doctors in Bakersfield. My husband told me that Twitter is full of people refuting these two doctors and their claims.

Jenny told me that Covid-19 was made in a laboratory.  Her proof: unlike other viruses, this one can flourish both in summer and in winter.  On National Public Radio, I heard that "Genomic Study Points to Natural Origin of Covid-19."

Jenny also said that vaccines are really just a way for the government to control us by injecting a chip in people.  My husband pointed me to articles saying that some governments are using methods of following people's locations so that those who violate social isolation can be controlled.  Not only cell phone locations, thumb prints and biometric ID of people's irises are being used to identify people, but researchers have tested implanting microchips with ID numbers in humans.

She said that the reported deaths from the Covid virus were inflated and cited a video that had been on Facebook but was removed. 

"Every case of someone who dies, they have to say it was a Covid," she said to me on May 5.  A report being removed or "soon to be removed" was to her proof of the government trying to conceal the truth.  She also said the government was paying hospitals to label deaths as caused by the virus--another half-truth related to funding to fight Covid-19.

I was shocked that Jenny would not believe the totals of Covid-related deaths being reported.  If anything, those totals were under-reported, according to MSNBC and the New York Times.  

My friends said their sources were 
  • pastors,
  • doctors who were friends of pastors,
  • Facebook, and
  • an evangelist who visited their church, who was in Vietnam when the pandemic started.
But a week later I read reports of a state senator from Minnesota challenging whether the numbers of Americans dead from Covid-19 had been inflated.

State Senator Scott Jensen questioned the federal guidelines for attributing deaths to Covid-19 as early as April 20.

His words were picked up and broadcast by Fox News and others:

InfoWars, a conspiracy news site that recently claimed that the coronavirus is a man-made bioweapon meant to stoke panic, also linked to Jensen's interview and ended a post with Jensen's quote: "Well, fear is a great way to control people, and I worry about that."

"They're trying to make people have fear, to take away our rights," Jenny said.  "It's a way to control people."  

From the state senator to Fox News and Facebook to my friend Jenny in ten days or less.  Or perhaps one could trace the chain of transmission back to another source.

Facebook has been the major spreader of misinformation for years, according to a Forbes report on March 21 of a study published in Nature: Human Behavior.

And Facebook's monitors miss 70% of the misinformation in Spanish as opposed to 29% of the misinformation in English.  FB puts a warning label on content that it identifies as not true. reported research that viewers of misinformation from one Fox News host had higher rates of infection and death from Covid-19 than the general public.
Jenny had some excellent arguments, however.  "It's okay for us to go to work for 8 hours or more, but we can't go to church for 2-3 hours?  This doesn't make sense at all."

Two of her sisters are pastors of their own small congregations in Santa Ana.  They continue to keep their churches open for worship, prayer, and singing two days a week.  People need prayer and connection to get through this epidemic.  Part of the church's job is just feeding people, making sure that those in their congregations have enough food.

Many people in their churches are "essential workers" of some kind.  Even for those who are not, their income is necessary to pay rent and buy food.  They bear the brunt of the crisis, unlike those who can afford to stay home or to work from home.

Meanwhile, some Christians who have more financial security and who are appalled by our president read articles like this one titled "Is the radical right spreading the coronavirus?"  Some fear for their lives if they have to venture out among people in crowded grocery aisles not wearing masks.

They worry that conservative evangelical Christians are among those spreading misinformation.

Meanwhile, people write long Twitter threads like this one, fighting over information and misinformation, whether to stay home or reopen.

It's hard to know how to be a faithful Christian in this politically charged climate.

We do need to take stands for justice and for truth.  New Testament professor Reta Halteman Finger writes a blog providing guides to studying books of the Bible such as the Book of Revelation.  It's on the website of Christian Feminism Today.

"Revelation is highly political!" she writes.  "Believers are called to choose between the politics of Roman domination or the faithful, nonviolent politics of the slaughtered Lamb."

In a democracy, believers are certainly called to vote.  I hope US Christians will do their part to study the issues and vote the dangerous liar out of the White House this November.  I hope we will take part in debate, supporting candidates, getting out the vote, allowing vote by mail, and preventing Russian interference.

Meanwhile, there are several things we can avoid doing:
  • Don't spread misinformation.  Check your facts and your sources.
  • Don't engage in hysterical hyperbole.  Let your yeas be yeas and your nos be nos.
  • Don't generalize about "evangelicals," "the left," "the media," etc.
  • Don't exaggerate to make a point against the other side.
  • Don't insult people, even those who lie to gain power or stay in power.  That's going to be a hard one for me.
Bottom line: respect each other's humanity.  

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Celia Marcos died for her patient

Remember Celia Marcos, 
a nurse who gave her life 
to help a patient 
whose monitor was flashing 
Code Blue--imminent death.  

She rushed in to help him, without an N95 mask, but 14 days later she died herself, as reported in today's Los Angeles Times.

"I don't want to die," she told her colleagues who were treating her at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital in Los Angeles.

“The hospital wasn’t giving us appropriate PPE — the N95s were locked,” said one nurse, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity after expressing fear of retaliation from hospital administrators. “It’s just too painful for everybody, what happened to her.”

She was Filipina-American, as are 18% of all American nurses.  They have long faced discrimination in hiring, but now they are fighting a new battle along with other medical workers: demanding proper PPE. 

The Times published three of the many letters to the editor received decrying the lack of proper protective equipment.

 "Shame on our healthcare facilities for putting workers’ lives at risk, and shame on President Trump for not taking control of the supply line in January when he was told of the coming pandemic," wrote Suzanne Brugman of La Habra Heights.

Viktor Frankl considered the suffering of innocent persons while he was imprisoned in Auschwitz.

Suffering and dying only seem to take meaning away from life, he concluded in Man's Search for Meaning (p. 112).  

"Is it not written in Psalms that God preserves all your tears?"

"I found myself confronted with the question of whether under such circumstances my life was ultimately void of any meaning," he wrote. 

His conclusion: "What is demanded of us," he concluded, is not " endure the meaninglessness of life but rather to bear our incapacity to grasp its unconditional meaningfulness in rational terms" (p. 111).

Friday, May 1, 2020

A Black Life that Mattered

Seeing this front page brought me to tears this morning.
I hold the fool in the White House responsible for the death of 32-year-old Brittany Bruner-Ringo last week.

I also hold responsible Silverado Beverly Place, the elegant residence in the La Brea area of Los Angeles for seniors with Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia.  

I condemn the wealthy family of a 69-year-old New York surgeon who needed to relocate to an assisted living facility near one of his children.  

The family continued with their plan to move their father to Los Angeles, even as the covid-19 pandemic spread across the US and the world.  A daughter flew from London to New York City, went to her father's apartment on the upper East side, and flew him to California.  How many people did she expose to the virus on this journey?

The Silverado Beverly Place made arrangements for him to enter the residence, even though "family visits had been cancelled and nonessential employees had been barred," according to Harriet Ryan, who wrote the report in today's LA Times that filled much of page one.

On March 19, Brittany was required to examine and admit the "prominent physician" from NYC although he showed signs of illness and the facility was on lock-down.

Brittany "told her mother, a veteran nurse in Oklahoma City, that the doctor was showing signs of illness — profuse sweating, a “productive” cough and a fever close to 103 degrees, her mother said in an interviewwith the LA Times.

Silverado has released records claiming that his temperature was only 96.8 and "No cough noted, no [symptoms] of any respiratory distress."

Brittany told her mother, also a nurse, that she had wanted to send the man to the hospital but that the administrators of the memory care facility had overruled her.

The next day, however, when she returned to work "the doctor’s condition had worsened. Medical records provided by the company indicate he was coughing up green phlegm, had a fever of 101.9 and was experiencing chills. He was taken by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center."

In the coming days, Brittany fell sick and by early April, she was hospitalized and put on a ventilator.  She died on April 20. 

Up to today, 63 patients and employees of Silverado Beverly Place have come down with covid and nine have died.

The 69-year-old surgeon recovered and is still living at the memory care facility.

"Black lives don't matter," concludes a friend of mine.  

What matters is being able to pay the price to live in a first-class residence.  The Silverado is a block away from The Grove, not far from the LA County Museum of Art and the La Brea Tar Pits.

The residence is part of a chain of high-end memory care centers that can cost families more than $15,000 a month for luxury touches, such as gourmet food and live performances, and cutting-edge dementia treatment.

It's a lot like the Sunrise Assisted Living chain, which owns the place in Santa Monica where my mother spent the last four years of her life.  Filling rooms is important, and the administrators of the Silverado certainly had financial reasons for admitting this man in spite of the pandemic.

Since the outbreak of covid-19 there, the 125-bed residence "has come in for heavy criticismaccording to the LA Times.  See the March 28 report by Harriet Ryan, Brittny Mejia, and Jack Dolan.

Brittany's mother, Kim Bruner-Ringo, drove from Oklahoma to be with her daughter during this illness, but she was not allowed to see her or visit her.  

“My daughter died alone,” she said.

I too have a 32-year-old daughter.  She lives in Oakland and is currently unemployed.  Losing her would be unbearable in any case, but losing her because of the poor decisions of a president, a nursing home, and a wealthy New York family would send me into a tailspin.   

The families of some Silverado residents who have died are planning lawsuits, but Brittany's mother has no plans to sue.  She's planning the May 2 memorial service and "learning to live without her." 

It's tragic.  It's unfair.  Her birthday was March 17.

Say her name: Brittany Bruner-Ringo.

"She was just kind-hearted," said one co-worker quoted in the article.  She spoke up "about patients who needed more attention and affection."

Clearly she lived a life that mattered.

Reading about her on the front page of this morning's newspaper immediately brought me to tears and kept me unable to focus on much else today.  She was just 32, a beloved daughter and sister.  

She was giving so much.  She was robbed of her life.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Grieving with the parents of Skylar Herbert

American Girl "Kendall Doll"
looks a lot like Skylar.
I don't have permission to use Skylar's photo.
I grieve with the parents of Skylar Herbert.  Their little girl died two days ago of meningitis and brain swelling caused by infection with the corona virus. 

Her mother, LaVondria Herbert, has been a police officer in Detroit for 25 years.

Her father, Ebbie Herbert, has served as a firefighter for 18 years.

They first took her to their pediatrician on March 23 and she tested positive for strep throat, but antibiotics didn't help.  She had a bad headache.  

The next day they took her to the ER of Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital, where she was tested for the covid-19 virus.  The next day she was given a positive diagnosis.  

On the third day, Skylar was sent home, but the family returned to the hospital because her father was coughing and had shortness of breath. While he was being treated, Skylar's headache returned and she had a seizure.  In the ER, her parents learned that she had meningitis.

See the full article in the Detroit News.  Or the New York Times.  Or the Washington Post.

A parent's greatest fear is the loss of a child.

Skylar was their only child, born when her mother was 41 years old

She would not have died if Hillary Clinton had been president of the United States.  

Hillary would have heeded the warnings early in January before the US had any cases of Covid-19 infection.  She would have taken serious measures to prevent its spread in the US.  

Hillary was alert to health issues--she formed a healthcare reform plan in 1993 that was defeated by pharmaceutical and health insurance companies.

In September 2016, a website called To the Point compared the different outcomes for Americans if she were elected with her plan to expand the Affordable Care Act vs. if Trump were elected with his desire to repeal Obamacare.

As it turned out, Trump couldn't even be bothered to read the memos given to him in January about the looming pandemic.  Read "How Trump let the U.S. fall behind the curve on coronavirus threat" in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, April 19.

Any normal president would have ramped up testing in January, traced contacts, and issued stay-at-home orders.

Trump thought only about his impeachment, the economy, and his reelection.

His selfishness and lack of interest in the dangers of a pandemic resulted in the deaths of 45,318 Americans so far--including little Skylar Herbert.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Mask Instructions and Best Practices

 Thank you to Marie Arthur Eggebroten for researching and compiling these instructions and videos on how to make a facial mask for using during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Video with pattern for hand-sewing a face mask:

Suay face mask using sewing machine:;postID=955433565355677135

Best practices in use of facial masks

  1. The recommendation is to wear a mask at all times in public spaces because we don’t know who has the virus and who doesn’t. It’s also more socially responsible to wear a mask, even if you’re outside.
  2. Always wash your hands before putting on or taking off the mask. 
  3. Don’t touch the fabric part of the mask. The fabric is the germ filter and you don’t want to spread whatever germs it has trapped. 
  4. Use the ties to secure your mask and to remove it. 
    1. The coverage area should go from near the bridge of your nose to down under your chin and stretch about halfway or more toward your ears. 
  5. Fidgeting with a mask could introduce germs to your face. If you can’t get a comfortable fit with it on, it might not actually help to wear it. 
  6. Another test* shows that using a single paper towel as a filter inside the cotton masks improves filtration. Throw the paper towel out at the end of the day and replace it with a new one the next day. 
    1. Other studies have shown that using a shop towel* has even better filtration abilities than a normal paper towel. Brands like ToolBox & ZEP’s had better results than Scott shop towels. 
  7. Wash your mask nightly in a machine or a sink, just using regular laundry soap. 
    1. You can use the dryer or let it air dry. 
    2. Although it’s not necessary, you can also go over it with a hot iron for a full assault on any germs that might remain.
    3. DO NOT use chemicals like bleach or hydrogen peroxide as they will begin to degrade the fabric fibers, making the mask less effective. 
  8. Masks do make us feel safer, but any benefit of wearing a mask will be quickly negated if we lose our resolve about social distancing and hand washing. Don’t start lingering in grocery stores or spending time with friends because you are wearing a mask. A mask alone will not protect you from the coronavirus.

Most info from: “A User’s Guide to Face Masks” published on 4/10/20 by the New York Times 

What to use to make facial masks

“The ideal material turned out to be stretchy blue shop towels made from a polyester hydro knit. Inserting two of these towels into an ordinary cotton mask brought filtration up to 93% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, the smallest their machine could test. Meanwhile, the cotton masks filtered 60% of particles at best in their tests, Schempf said.
Polyester hydro knit towels are readily available at hardware and automotive stores. The two brands they tested were ToolBox's shop towel and ZEP's industrial blue towel. Interestingly, Scott's pro shop towels, which are also made with a hydro knit fabric, didn't work as well, Schempf said.”

See also: