[00:00:00] Lisa woolfork: Hello, stitchers. Welcome to stitch, please. The official podcast of black women's stitch, the sewing group, where black lives matter. I'm your host Lisa wool fork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast. With more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax, and get ready to get your stitch together.
[00:00:39] Lisa woolfork: Hello everyone. And welcome to stitch, please. The official podcast of black women's stitch. Thank you for joining me today. I'm recording a little later than normal because everything about today in these last few weeks have been nothing. Like normal, um, today's episode, I'm gonna be talking about making masks and understanding sewing in [00:01:00] a pandemic.
[00:01:01] Lisa woolfork: And so what I wanted to get started with is to share a bit about the structure of today's episode. I'm gonna talk about. Um, what the masks are, what they are used to be is meant to be a substitute for how people are making them. And there's also links in the show notes about this. I'm also gonna talk about the good and the bad of making homemade masks.
[00:01:23] Lisa woolfork: In addition, I will close with a few action steps, but not before we hear from an actual clinician who is a nurse working in, um, a clinical setting with flu patients. And she is the person who is, um, pictured in the photographs for this episode. So stay tuned and I will be right back with an overview of what we're gonna do next.
[00:01:57] Lisa woolfork: The coronavirus has just started [00:02:00] to hit the us in really direct and, uh, life changing ways. And I believe we're just getting started. Uh, just yesterday. Um, this I, I live in Virginia and the governor closed all schools for the rest of the year. Um, we have been, um, not allowed to gather in groups more than 10, the university where I am a professor is close to in person instruction for the rest of the year and might be moving in that direction for summer session as well.
[00:02:27] Lisa woolfork: It's unsure. Um, they have also canceled all events and activities. The NCAA canceled March madness was, which was when I knew it would got, had gotten serious is when the NCAA canceled March madness, I was like, whoa, March madness is a basketball tournament, but more striking for my students. And that I feel really badly about is the university has canceled its graduation.
[00:02:50] Lisa woolfork: And a lot of other schools are doing that and trying to find new ways. Um, to honor those students and to let them, um, celebrate the pride of their achievement. [00:03:00] But what we're dealing with is so serious and so contagious and can be trans transmitted so rapidly. The virus itself is very robust. It, um, it, with it can live on surfaces for 30 minutes.
[00:03:15] Lisa woolfork: It can hang in the air, like all of these things, and this is contributing to the feeling of panic. And I just want us to think about the word panic, the word pandemic, all of these things are interconnected. And one way to combat that is with resources, obviously. Um, and that's something that we seem to have in short supply in the United States.
[00:03:39] Lisa woolfork: And that is a bit of a surprise considering how well resourced we are in other areas. And so a. One of the things that the homemade masks are allowing people to do as an opportunity to support and to contribute. I do want to talk a little bit about the masks and offer and the, the opinions [00:04:00] that I'm offering here are opinions that I have.
[00:04:02] Lisa woolfork: That I've made myself, I have read articles. I have done research. I've talked to nurses and nursing professors. I've read stuff from doctors, some the CDC from the world health organization. And you can find, um, the sources that I used in the show notes. If you go to them, there's a lot of show notes in here for this or this for today's episode.
[00:04:22] Lisa woolfork: So do, um, not forget to overlook the, do not forget to look at those what I wanted to just stress. And I think everybody knows is that homemade masks are not effective. They are not effective as they are not as effective as an N five mask. They are not as effective as a surgical mask. They are. Um, I think they are at least, and maybe less, there was a study that I read that talked about.
[00:04:51] Lisa woolfork: This they're like 50%, less effective than one of the lowest surgical or medical effectiveness. Um, [00:05:00] essentially what we are dealing with is that. This is better than nothing. And I think that that is a caveat that is really worth mentioning. Um, just to review an N five and N 95 mask is a type of respirator.
[00:05:15] Lisa woolfork: Some of them have valves where you can breathe in and then the air also goes out. It's fitted custom to your face. Um, if people are using these people, typically use them in areas that are high smog or where the air is not clean, like in California, from forest fires, which they get regularly. It allows people to move about the city outside because, um, in five, in 95 masks, um, filter out 95% of airborne particulates.
[00:05:46] Lisa woolfork: That's a high amount. They filter out 95%. Of airborne particulates. Um, it's use it's, it's useful to know that the COVID 19 virus, which is the virus that we are talking about now is a size [00:06:00] 0.1 microbe size or micron size it's there's, it's, it's really tiny 0.1 vacuum cleaner filters, which I know some people are using to filter their masks are 0.3 size.
[00:06:13] Lisa woolfork: And that's one of the recommendations. It's I just wanna just sit with the idea that we are in a great time of uncertainty and that it does help people to feel better when they can help other people or feel like they are contributing. And that is something I do understand. I do want us to keep in mind though that.
[00:06:35] Lisa woolfork: Um, making the masks is a wonderful project of, I guess, some someone could call it maybe sewing solidarity. I just saw a couple of days ago that Joanne fabrics is providing kits and stuff like that for people. , but we can't this, we have to be aware that this is a, an absolute last resort and it's a sign of how bad [00:07:00] things have absolutely gotten that hospitals are calling for these things.
[00:07:04] Lisa woolfork: So I just wanted to talk a little bit about some of the construction of the masks. Um, I'm not gonna go too much into it because if you look in the show notes, there are a lot of great tutorials that I have included. Um, let's see, Atlanta sewing style with, uh, Nikki. She has a tutorial and on her Instagram page that I've included.
[00:07:25] Lisa woolfork: Patrice J bridal has a Facebook tutorial that she did last week and she sewed like, I think one or two masks, like right in front of us in like 40 minutes start to finish. Um, Lisa Stewart from cultured expressions also has a tutorial on Instagram. And so those are three links that you can go to. If you wanna watch tutorials.
[00:07:46] Lisa woolfork: I've also included a link to another page that had about 31 different tutorials and patterns for people to use, to make these masks. I just wanted to get us to think about in terms of the mask [00:08:00] itself, that the materials that people are using, whether it's cotton or someone even suggested duck, cloth, and I'm like, how are you supposed to breathe through duck cloth?
[00:08:09] Lisa woolfork: Um, duck, cloth, all of these things are not gonna be up to the standard of a medical. Mask. Um, the, the only exception to that is I believe there was a hospital that had a project called 100 million masks and they had prepped enough kits with actual medical grade equipment, non latex, elastics, and all of these things that could be used to Manu for people to make masks at home.
[00:08:38] Lisa woolfork: They have already given out 100 million of these kids. Um, and so they said they don't even have a need for them anymore. So. I just wanted to kind of get people to think about that, like using two layers of quilting, cotton, and, oh my gosh, the things people are trying to put in these things, I think the vacuum cleaner bag is a really good idea.
[00:08:59] Lisa woolfork: [00:09:00] Um, because it does kind of protect, you know, 0.3 microns, which is bigger than the virus, but the virus also floats on a droplet that could be bigger than that. Um, but other things that I've heard people using like felt and quilt batting, that just seems like it'd be difficult to breathe with. I have not made any yet, but I, um, I do have plans to do so.
[00:09:22] Lisa woolfork: And I can tell you more about that in our closing. Um, but the thing that I've just found, so, so interesting and concerning is how people seem to be overlooking. The fact that we are in this position is because we are incredibly poorly resourced and our medical infrastructure is broken. That's this, this notion that somehow we are meant to volunteer our way through this pandemic is such a problem, especially for a country that seems to have excess of so many things, but when it comes to the things that actually matter, you know, keeping doctors and [00:10:00] nurses and clinicians alive so they can take care of us.
[00:10:03] Lisa woolfork: That's something we have to like beg, borrow and steal for. And, um, that's just a sign. I believe of how the corrosive nature of capitalism seems to work. And so that's something that has really kind of come to light. in ways that I hadn't expected before that. And that is one thing about a crisis. A crisis will really show you who you are and, uh, a pandemic will show you what your nation's values are.
[00:10:31] Lisa woolfork: And some of the things that I've been seeing have been very concerning about what the values of this nation are. Um, and I, I will talk about that when I get to the quote unquote, bad of the mask making schema, I read a post, I think it was a Facebook post, um, from a doctor that said sending. Homemade masks for surgeons and for doctors and medical professionals as, um, PPE, a personal protection equipment [00:11:00] is like sending soldiers into war with flip flops.
[00:11:03] Lisa woolfork: Yes. Flip flops are better than no shoes at all, but are they really, have you ever tried to run really fast than flip flops? You really cannot. You better off kicking them things off and going bare feet. But I think that this is again where we are this notion that the homemade masks that are being generated by the tens of thousands is a sign of, uh, support and solidarity and compassion and concern for our medical care workers.
[00:11:28] Lisa woolfork: And I think that this is a wonderful thing to celebrate at the same time. It should not all those masks shouldn't mask that we shouldn't be in this position in the first place. And it's worth interrogating why we ended up. Why, um, these masks have not been available. What is the reason why we don't have these things?
[00:11:49] Lisa woolfork: And that's something that I'm really interested in. And again, I'm not gonna talk too much about that other than to say, I'm pretty sure it's capitalism is the reason that we don't have these things. [00:12:00] And, um, I, I just wanted to just put that out there. I'm not meaning to be a, a downer, you know, there's, there's a lot of anxiety around what's happening right now because nobody knows what's happening right now.
[00:12:13] Lisa woolfork: And sometimes sitting in front of the sewing machine with a six by nine piece of fabric and two elastic straps, or some bias tape is just the thing you need to make you feel better. However, the goal of this is not for a lot of people who are anxious to feel better. The goal is to help get our doctors and nurses.
[00:12:33] Lisa woolfork: Equipped. Right. And so I would, I think of course we can do both things at once, right? We can make these masks and give them to people and we can advocate and promote, um, the manufacturer of more masks and come up with more, an additional and more and additional creative solutions. Um, I saw that there was a digital lab that one of my, uh, friends runs at Columbia and he's working on [00:13:00] using, creating a pattern for 3d printers to print up materials for masks that that can be used for, um, medical professionals in new New York, because in New York city, it's so densely packed, they are a new epicenter of this disease and.
[00:13:20] Lisa woolfork: They have needs, they have needs. And I just, I just feel really badly and at a loss and frustrated that that need, and this need is a large need. The United States, this need is meant to be met by completely inadequate resources, which I would say a homemade mask is it is better than nothing. It is a, it is a tool of last resort.
[00:13:45] Lisa woolfork: This is what the CDC has said. This is what the world health organization has said. Even the ho the world health organization actually said that these masks shouldn't be used, but now here we are, and we have to use them because we have nothing else. [00:14:00] I'm gonna take a little break. And when I come back, I'll talk again about the good and the bad of a homemade mask.
[00:14:08] Lisa woolfork: Please stay tuned. Oh.
[00:14:22] Lisa woolfork: Here at stitch, please. The official podcast of black women. Stitch, we talk a lot about sewing, but if you want to see and not just hear about some of the things we've been discussing, feel free to join us on the socials. You can find us at stitch, please on Facebook, and you can also find us on Instagram at black women's stitch.
[00:14:45] Lisa woolfork: You can find photos of projects that we've been working on. Really interesting social commentary and on Thursdays at 3:00 PM Eastern standard time, you can join black women's stitch for a live [00:15:00] Instagram chat. Again, that's every Thursday at 3:00 PM. So find us on the socials. Follow up with us. We are happy to hear your direct messages.
[00:15:09] Lisa woolfork: You can reach out to us at the black women's stitch page on Instagram, and we'll help you get your stitch together.
[00:15:27] Lisa woolfork: Much for coming back and listening to the stitch, please podcast the official podcast of black women's stitch. We're talking today about sewing in a pandemic making masks. Um, I've talked a bit about in the previous segment about the masks and what they are intended to be a substitute or supplement for.
[00:15:45] Lisa woolfork: Um, I've offered my opinion that the mask based on my reading, that the masks are not effective in the transmission or protected from transmission from COVID 19, that it's not possible for a homemade mask to work in the same [00:16:00] way as a surgical mask, which is less effective even than a, an N 95. Respirator mask, which, um, both of which of the, both of those things are now in short supply.
[00:16:12] Lisa woolfork: So if that's the case, then what are they good for? And I believe that they are good for quite a few things. One of the things that they are good for is that it is a good reminder to stop touching your face. Y'all someone said to me today, oh, a crisis really does help you know about yourself or teach you about yourself.
[00:16:36] Lisa woolfork: And I'm like, well, that's absolutely true because apparently my hobbies are sewing and quilting and podcasting and touching my freaking face. I have touched my face so much in, I, I, I, I never realized how much I touched my face. I was in a zoom conference today because I said our teaching has been moved online.
[00:16:59] Lisa woolfork: I think I [00:17:00] touched my face like 97 times. It wasn't one hour and 15 minutes class people. I, I couldn't help it. I was like, oh, wait, I think I got itch on my eyebrow. I gotta put my hand on my chin in a, in a very profess professorial way to look like I'm interested in listening, which I obviously am. I'm fiddling with my hair.
[00:17:17] Lisa woolfork: I mean, it is terrible. So a mask is a symbolic. Sign. And it's a symbolic reminder to myself to stop touching my face. So I think if it does that great, the second thing I think it is good for is that wearing a mask. Um, and this is one of the articles that you can find in the show notes. It's a sign of cultural or group solidarity.
[00:17:44] Lisa woolfork: If everybody is out in a mask and everyone is wearing a mask, it sends this, this image that it sends this message that we're all in this together, that everybody is thinking and being mindful and trying to not touch their own faces and [00:18:00] taking care and taking other, um, healthy steps to stay healthy and to stay uninfected and to not transmit this disease.
[00:18:10] Lisa woolfork: Um, I. excuse me. I was at the grocery store a couple days ago and a lady came in and she had gloves and she had a mask on and I was just like, oh my gosh. But she was like, oh, and I, and she grabbed a sanitizer like I did and wiped down the counter, not the counter wiped down the shopping cart and all that stuff.
[00:18:30] Lisa woolfork: And she's like, well, I'm doing this to protect you. And I'm glad you're using a hand sanitizers to protect me. And I'm like, what?
[00:18:40] Lisa woolfork: I was like, I was, I think I might, there was some social distance involved and I might have just nodded and just been like, yes, please proceed. Um, but it is a sign that this is one of the things that the article was talking about. It's a time that we are in it together as a community. And that, that is an effective thing to.
[00:18:58] Lisa woolfork: another thing that I [00:19:00] believe a homemade mask is good for is for low risk it's for people who are not in the role of giving care to other people. There's lots of people who work in hospital settings that are not, that don't have any contact with patients, um, or who don't, who don't have physical contact with patients.
[00:19:21] Lisa woolfork: There are people that process, the insurance there's hospital, administrators, there's, um, there's people who have to work in the building where this virus is, and, but aren't able to, but they don't seem to be given, um, either the degree of social distance that they need to do their jobs, or, um, they're not giving surgical masks because surgical masks, um, need to be used by the people who are, you know, who make patient contact or whatever.
[00:19:50] Lisa woolfork: And so. There's a lot of places where people could use masks to help minimize their exposure. And, [00:20:00] um, a homemade mask could be very good for that, because again, one of the things that I read, and this was one of the articles, a study from, um, a, a company I believe called smart filter. Again, the link is in the show notes and it said that it trapped like in 95 masks trapped like 95 or 97% of flu particles, surgical masks got about 80 and homemade masks with a filter were about at 50.
[00:20:27] Lisa woolfork: And then there were some other masks that, um, were a little bit lower. And so it's not getting everything. It really is more like five out, five out of 10, um, five out, five out of the 10 flu particles can get in there as opposed to in the higher rated masks that are well fitted. They don't, they, they don't get through like 90, like 99.5.
[00:20:51] Lisa woolfork: of 10 95 outta 10 would be 95 outta a hundred, you know, y'all, I am not a math person and throwing all these [00:21:00] numbers around. It's just giving me a headache. Um but the purpose is that, um, there are places where people need a bit less protection than someone who is a nurse and a doctor and a janitorial worker working in the custodial services, cleaning the rooms, cleaning the hospital, sanitizing them.
[00:21:18] Lisa woolfork: I remember once I was, um, feeling like not so great about my job. And I was like, oh, this is so hard grading, all these papers or something. And then I learned about a person at the hospital at the university of Virginia hospital, which is where I work, not the hospital. I work at the academic side. They call the academic side in the hospital.
[00:21:38] Lisa woolfork: There's a person who worked at the hospital and their job y'all their job was to flip the mattresses. that was their job to flip the mattresses. Do you know how many beds are in a hospital like that? A lot. And their job was to flip the mattresses even with patients on them so that, well, I'm [00:22:00] imagining like flipping 'em off, making a fall to the floor and scooping 'em up.
[00:22:03] Lisa woolfork: No, no, no, you obviously you transfer them to a chair or to a wheelchair to something, and then you take all the linens off the bed and then you flip the mattress and then you remake the bed and you get the patient back in. Like that person who's doing that job needs a freaking mask, even if they're not a doctor or a nurse or another type of clinician.
[00:22:24] Lisa woolfork: And so there's lots of people who have higher needs for these medical grade masks and for people who have a bit less of a need these, I think homemade masks would work great. Um, again, my opinion, not a doctor or a nurse or a clinician or an infectious disease specialist. Um, my advice in terms of actual advice is to stay home, stay away from people and catch your cough in your, um, elbow.
[00:22:54] Lisa woolfork: Uh, the last thing that I wanted to put down as, um, two things that I think are good about [00:23:00] the homemade masks one is that it can be a really cute accessory. And if you followed anything on my Instagram page, you know, I like to match. I love matching. And if you think for one hot second, that I'm not gonna make some matching masks to go with all my outfits, you are mistaken because I have some extra fabric from our Easter outfits that I made, because we'll be this year friends, we will be wearing our Easter outfits at backyard Baptist right here at this house are matching outfits.
[00:23:30] Lisa woolfork: And I have some scraps that I can use to make some matching mask for myself. I'm sure the boys will not wanna be involved in any of my foolishness, but that's one thing. They are very. Cool when they match your outfit. Um, actually Kenora Renee, you could find her fabric by Kenora on Instagram. She posted a picture of herself in this really nice blue and white duster with a mask that she had made.
[00:23:57] Lisa woolfork: And you could see that on her Instagram page. That's pretty cool. [00:24:00] Um, the last thing that I think is a good thing about the mask is that it gives people something to do. It gives people something to do in a way to feel connected and to feel like they're helping and supporting a larger, um, a larger initiative that they're helping to solve a problem.
[00:24:18] Lisa woolfork: They're providing a solution that hasn't been able to be provided and that they're stepping in to fill the gap and I think, or to bridge the gap. And I think that that is good and that is a good feeling and that can be very positive. So those are some of the good aspects I believe about the homemade masks.
[00:24:34] Lisa woolfork: And now I'm gonna transition to talk about the things that I think are not great, or actually bad about the homemade masks.
[00:24:51] Lisa woolfork: The dangers. I see it of the homemade masks as I'm seeing them proliferate is that it is a distraction from the [00:25:00] problems that led to this shortage in the first place. That is one of the things I think it is worth talking about is why is medical care so expensive in this country? Why does, why might a hospital, for example, mark up a $5 bottle of saline for $500, why do, why is everything so expensive?
[00:25:17] Lisa woolfork: And yet in our time of great crisis, we don't have enough of the things that we need. Is it because they are expensive? Is it because the manufacturing is not enough? I'm not sure, but I just feel like these systems that have so much money to do so many other things. Why are you relying on home sewers to provide you with, you know, millions upon millions upon millions of masks.
[00:25:44] Lisa woolfork: Um, I feel like there should that, that this country should, we should have enough. Um, and again, that's, you know, shoulds are not, you know, I know we have to now live in reality and live in the present moment. I'm not trying to pull us out of that, but I do want us to step back and think [00:26:00] like, why are we needing to do this at all?
[00:26:04] Lisa woolfork: Why is this, um, um, why is this mad rush for, you know, helping to, to that helping to close the gap for a very basic need that a nurse needs to do her job and to stay safe because I mean, this is, I don't wanna be alarmist, but the truth is if our medical professionals fall, who is going to take care of us, if we get sick, if they get sick, because they don't have the protection that we, they need.
[00:26:35] Lisa woolfork: Um, Then what's gonna happen. It's all gonna go to shit. I'm sorry to say. And so I just, I would, and, and a homemade mask might be a very small modicum of protection. They've been suggested that these masks will be used. Over the N 95 masks they'll be used in addition to, um, an N 95, or they will be used to double [00:27:00] layer on top of a hospital, um, surgical mask.
[00:27:02] Lisa woolfork: There's all of these things that might be happening. But what we know for certain is that masks, these N 95 masks that are not meant to be reused in a clinical context are now being reused four and five times. And maybe more, um, there was a time when a nurse would be in trouble. If she walked out of a room, wearing a mask and didn't throw it away and get a new one in order to minimize cross-contamination and infection.
[00:27:28] Lisa woolfork: And now you might have a mask. And that's your mask for the next, you know, for the first half of your shift? It reminds me of when I was a kid, um, My mother is very clever and there was three of us. I think y'all heard us on the Christmas key key episode last year. And so we'd be home during the summer and we'd become an in and out of the house and we would be in and outta the refrigerator and we'd be in and out of, you know, and she, what she would do is she would get these cups and she would each put, she would put our names on them and she would say, look, this is.[00:28:00]
[00:28:00] Lisa woolfork: Cup this in, I think it could even have been like a, a styrofoam cup. See, my mother was all about like sustainability even before it became popular, but she would put your name on a styrofoam cup. And that would be your cup for the day because she wasn't gonna be washing these dishes. She was not gonna be, you know, chasing behind people to see who's was what, and this is what's actually happening in hospitals.
[00:28:24] Lisa woolfork: Now people are taking Sharpies and putting doctors and nurses and clinicians initials on these things because this is their mask for the day, as opposed to they would go through about a dozen. And now they're down to just a handful and it's just, it just shows where we are. And I have read, and I, I have, I put a link to this in the show notes as well, that 3m, which manufactures these masks has started to, um, step up its production, um, and really ramping it up so that they can be prepared.
[00:28:57] Lisa woolfork: Um, and so that's something that [00:29:00] continues to happen and that's a really good feeling, but I think it's also worth us remembering. And this is something that I mentioned this in. Um, I taught my. First class on Instagram live a few weeks ago after the spring break that there's no such thing as natural disasters, that there are systems that there are ways that have healthy systems in place that can be used to have sustainable living for everyone, um, so that people can have their basic needs met.
[00:29:29] Lisa woolfork: And, um, this book, there, there are indigenous such thing as a natural disaster is making me think a lot about where we are right now. Um, and so one of the things, again, to go all the way around the barn is that I find problematic about the homemade masks is that it is distracting us from why we don't have enough of the.
[00:29:50] Lisa woolfork: Things that we need. Um, and that, and pushing that responsibility off onto us rather than interrogating the systems, the hospitals, [00:30:00] the, um, the government, the governments, the local municipalities, you know, all of these things, the, the manufacturing industries, why aren't there enough of these things to meet basic needs.
[00:30:12] Lisa woolfork: So that was one question that I don't want us to lose sight of in our willingness to help. Another concern about the homemade masks that I have now is the ways in which it could be used as a panacea. A panacea is a, um, I'm trying to define this in a way that makes sense, like the difference between a placebo, which is like a false, um, which is like a.
[00:30:37] Lisa woolfork: Um, oh, great. Now I gotta Google it hold please. Okay. I'm back. So a placebo is, as we know, it's a, it's a, that's when you give someone a it's a substance that has no medical value. Um, it's not something that will make anybody feel better, but the, but the patient believes it's medicine. So it works, right.
[00:30:57] Lisa woolfork: This is something that you can do for [00:31:00] someone. And there's a lot of like studies about the placebo effect of giving someone that's might be like saline or something, and it really doesn't have any medical effect, but they believe it does. And so it works. Um, we don't want that in a pandemic. We do not wanna be giving people placebos.
[00:31:16] Lisa woolfork: I think that's dangerous. I think it's unethical. And I'm seeing that a lot of these masks. Are being used in this way, as you know, it's the last resort it's not harmful. It's fine. Um, when in fact it's none, nothing about this is fine. It's also a danger. And I think I mentioned the word panacea earlier when a placebo becomes a panacea, that's like the absolute worst combination, right?
[00:31:41] Lisa woolfork: Because a panacea is like a remedy for all diseases. It's a cure. It's um, a simple solution for really complicated problems. And it doesn't really work. Um, it's really shallow. And so I, the, the thing that the, about the mask that I find [00:32:00] concerning is that people put on these masks that are not very effective and they don't know how to wear a mask and use a mask.
[00:32:07] Lisa woolfork: They breathe the mask in and out, um, all of the viral stuff accumulates on the outside, but then they can't stop touching it. So they didn't, then they touch the mask, they touch their face, they touch somebody else. I mean, it's just a lot of work just required to get used to practicing, wearing a mask. And if you wear a mask badly, It is certainly not gonna help you.
[00:32:29] Lisa woolfork: And so my fear is, or my concern is people buying homemade masks or make buying is a different question, making homemade masks and thinking that, oh, I'm protected. I'm going to Sam's club. You know, where you get together with a bunch of other people who also don't know how to wear a mask. And it's a big mask party and everyone's thinking, oh, look how good we're being.
[00:32:48] Lisa woolfork: Look how, you know, protected we're being. And you really aren't being protected at all. And that feeling of false protection, that placebo makes you more vulnerable than you would have been if you [00:33:00] had no mask and just stayed home.
[00:33:05] Lisa woolfork: I wanna talk in our final segment before we get to the very special segment of our program about selling the homemade masks. Um, I find this very disturbing. I've seen this trend start maybe three weeks ago, um, and on the rise on the increase, um, more and more I'm seeing this. And I just wanted to say that I find this deeply problematic.
[00:33:29] Lisa woolfork: I think that pandemics should not be a money making opportunity. Um, I believe that yes, capitalism does require us to, um, seize any opportunity that we might have to acquire wealth and income and money. That, that that's something that, that we have been trained to do and think about in capitalism. But I do find this really unethical in the same way.
[00:33:51] Lisa woolfork: I think it's unethical for a hospital to charge $500 for a $5, $5 bottle of saline. Um, this. The [00:34:00] masks are not clinically effective. They're not clinically tested. They have been sewn in houses, like who knows what? I know that for a lot of us, for black folks, we don't eat at everybody's house and you can be certain, I would not be wearing a mask from everybody's house.
[00:34:15] Lisa woolfork: And so this notion that. by selling these things. We, I don't know. It just seems like not a nice thing to be selling, especially in the time of such panic and such crisis. Um, when hospitals are asking for equipment that is clearly substandard, which is a, a homemade mask is substandard by definition to an N five mask or a surgical mask.
[00:34:39] Lisa woolfork: When people are asking for substandard equipment, this is a sign of desperation. Um, and it's a certain type of profiteering that I find really problematic to sell something, um, in a time of such great crisis, even if it's profitable financially, it seems really, um, [00:35:00] problematic legally as well as ethically.
[00:35:03] Lisa woolfork: Um, especially my I've really seen some, I've been concerned about folks who wanna buy them and put 'em on their babies and buy them, put 'em on their toddlers. And I'm like, please ma'am please do not put a baby. Put a mask on a baby, like keep the baby at home. It seems to me just as bad as putting a baby in a car seat with no straps.
[00:35:23] Lisa woolfork: Um, if you're gonna put a poorly made homemade mask on a baby, just keep the baby away from other people and stay home. Um, so that's something I just wanted to, to throw out there. And to, again, I'm not telling anybody what to do, people can do what they wanna do. I'm hoping that everybody, um, is an adult with their own sense of moral compass and their own sense of direction.
[00:35:47] Lisa woolfork: Um, But that to me just seems so problematic and concerning that I absolutely had to mention it as an issue. I'm gonna transition now to, um, a conversation. Well, not a conversation, [00:36:00] a voice memo that I asked for from, uh, a woman who is a nurse. Uh, her name is Chanel. She is featured in the podcast art for this episode.
[00:36:12] Lisa woolfork: That's her suited up with the N 95 mask with a face shield with gloves and her equipment going into her work, um, which she does in part at a COVID 19 slash flu clinic. Um, I've asked her, she, she created a voice memo. Um, I'm gonna play it in its entirety just to kind of honor the story that she's telling about where we are right now.
[00:36:33] Lisa woolfork: And this is someone who has a perspective on the disease from the inside. So I hope you'll listen, um, with attention and when I, and after she's done, I'm gonna come back with some action steps about what you can do and how you can use your sewing to help make a change in this really stressful and difficult time.
[00:36:51] Lisa woolfork: Stay tuned. And here's Chanel.
[00:36:53] Chanel: Good day, everyone. I am Chanel. I am a clinical care technician slash licensed practical nurse. I work here [00:37:00] in the 7 57 area or Tidewater area of Virginia. The practice that I work at, um, is a clinic. So it is not the hospital. I do not work for. I do not work in a hospital. I work for an internal medicine practice where our patient population is between the ages of 60 and above with chronic illnesses, mostly chronic illnesses.
[00:37:26] Chanel: Um, it has been extremely challenging for our practice just within the last three weeks. My patients have been calling me to ask me to change their appointments, to be, um, you know, to, to, you know, so they won't have to come outside. They have asked me to, um, send more medications to their, um, pharmacies to their mail arm, um, mail order pharmacies.
[00:37:54] Chanel: They have, um, not wanted to come in, you know, [00:38:00] come to their regular appointments because they're scared. So it's been quite challenging on that aspect and then are asking us questions about what is COVID 19, what is the coronavirus? So I can tell you briefly, the coronavirus is a virus that attacks your lungs.
[00:38:22] Chanel: And if you are a patient with a chronic illness, like let's say you have heart issues, or you already have lung issues, you have diabetes. Um, this thing will attack you and it can possibly kill you. So you have to be mindful of, um, our patients who are in that, that range with chronic illnesses and who are 60 and above because they're weak immune.
[00:38:53] Chanel: Um, I have noticed that, um, we have shifted the changing in our, [00:39:00] um, in our clinic where we are calling the patients before they even come in. I mean, we usually call our patients anyway. However, we are calling them to ask them if they have a cough fever or shortness of breath. And if they do, we are sending them to another clinic, which is the clinic that within the last week I am working at now, um, to combat this COVID 19 slash flu epidemic, that is, that is, um, overtaken our country.
[00:39:34] Chanel: Um, it has been very crazy because even at my clinic, we are short on a lot of things that we have and that we don't have, um, We are taking temperatures at the front door before the patient even comes in the door. We are taking temperatures at the door, giving them hand sanitized, giving, like aquir of [00:40:00] hand sanitizer.
[00:40:01] Chanel: And then they're able to go in to check in for their appointment if they are well, if they show any signs or symptoms of having this right here, we have to isolate them in a room alone by themselves. And they should not be bringing any family members or any visitors, just even to the clinic. It has been hectic because we have gotten different things from, you know, the, the heads of our corporation.
[00:40:34] Chanel: It has been crazy now, fast forward to the clinic that I'm at right now. It's still crazy because we're, we had to build this place up from the ground up. It is a place that we had to, um, Take over a clinic that was already, you know, um, closing down. So whatever they had in there, we used the little bit that they had.
[00:40:58] Chanel: However, we had to go out [00:41:00] to our medical groups and beg, borrow, and still, you know, to get things from them in order to run this clinic that we are at now, the COVID 19 slash flu clinic. And I say slash flu clinic, because we are still testing for flu just to make sure if the patient has flu or strep, we're testing those things right now.
[00:41:24] Chanel: It's been where people think that they can just come in and say, oh, I have sinus issues. Can you take me out for 14 days for work? No, that it's not what we're here for. We are here to, you know, um, make sure that our patients do not have coronavirus slash COVID 19, whatever you wanna call it. You know, the medical term for it is COVID 19.
[00:41:54] Chanel: We're just trying to make sure that our patients are safe. So if you have, [00:42:00] you know, the pollen is out now. So if you just have like, you know, seasonal allergies, please don't come to the doctor, deal with it yourself at home. It's been a struggle trying to, you know, have our patients know the difference.
[00:42:16] Chanel: There is a difference. Now the symptoms of the COVID 19 that we have just found out here in America is shortness of breath. And this is unusual. Shortness of breath, um, you know, a high fever, 1 0 2 point something people not 100.2. Or, you know, it's 1 0 2 point, whatever. So please make sure that your temperature is on a consistent basis of being high and that you have an unusual cough.
[00:42:55] Chanel: And this is, is staying constant for more than three days. [00:43:00] All of these symptoms, more than three days. If you have these symptoms, then please go to the emergency room. At that time, don't go to your doctor and get everybody infected. Don't go out in the, in the street and get everybody infected, you know, just go straight to the emergency room, let them know your signs and symptoms so that they can treat you correctly.
[00:43:27] Chanel: Now, here in Virginia, we have gotten, um, a notice saying that they did not want the, um, clinics to be performing or the drive up clinics to be performing COVID 19 testing. And only because of the fact that they, well, we don't have anything. We don't have the correct PPE that's, um, personal protective equipment.
[00:43:59] Chanel: We do not [00:44:00] have a lot of it. We are running out of test and we are running out of a lot of things that we do not have as far as mask. Now let's get to the mask things. So sisters, I know you're out there. I know that you want to be able to protect your families and, and stuff like that. I think that's a good thing by trying to make them a homemade mask.
[00:44:25] Chanel: That's fine. However, if you're out there and you are trying to make a profit and you're trying to sell. um, patterns and, um, tutorials and, um, you know, you're trying to sell the mask itself that you're making from the scraps in your home. I say, shame on you because us medical professionals are struggling right now.
[00:44:52] Chanel: We can barely get gowns that we need these little paper gowns that you see, we wear. We can barely get that. We can barely get the [00:45:00] goggles, the mask, the N 95 mask, the hair bonnets, the booties, um, and the test itself, we can barely get a glove. So I'm asking and pleading with. Please do not be nasty and send you and start selling of these things.
[00:45:18] Chanel: It is very imperative that you listen to me when I tell you this, because we are struggling out here. We do not have the luxury of staying home. We have to be up and personal in the face of these patients. We have to be up and personal in the, in the mouths and in the noses of these patients, collecting these tests from them.
[00:45:41] Chanel: So please be mindful when you go out there and you try to sell this to a nurse who doesn't know how to sew, shame on you. That's all I gotta say about that part. Um, but what you can do, if you do wanna make [00:46:00] mask and stuff like that, I say to my soul sisters, go out there, go ahead, make your mask. But make sure you give it to a worthy cause ask your local hospitals and stuff like that.
[00:46:16] Chanel: Hey, I would like to donate masks. What can I, you know, do to help out? They'll tell you the fabric that they need. If you, if you ask them what fabric they need, you know, they'll tell you don't bring latex up in there because it may affect the, the, the healthcare worker or the patient themselves. They'll let you know, you know, or teach someone how to make a mask by hand sewing.
[00:46:45] Chanel: I know that's a loss, art, teach someone how to make a, a, um, how to make a mass by hand sewing or by machine sewing. So do that if you wanna help out do that, but don't try to sell us your [00:47:00] scraps that you just made from your home. um, I think I pretty much said what I needed to say. We are in an epidemic now where it is hitting home, where, um, a lot of us are struggling to, you know, figure out when this will end, you know, and what, what we do and don't have, you know, um, but I'm just asking, please, please.
[00:47:35] Chanel: So sisters and I call you so sisters, because I do have a business called perfume lettuce, and I do know how to sew as well, but I, I, I love my, um, I love my patients as well. I am a nurse and I wanna make sure that my patients. Are well off. So if you want to, if, oh, also yeah, you can give it to someone that's 60 and [00:48:00] above go to the nursing homes.
[00:48:02] Chanel: I know you can't get in there though, but you know, drop it off at their door and say, Hey, I'm giving these to the patients that's in here, you know, do something, do something productive. Um, but, but don't, don't sell the don't. Don't sell the mask, please. That's all I asked, but I, I thank you. Um, I thank you for listening to me.
[00:48:27] Chanel: I thank you for this time. I just ask that you please, um, you know, um, help one another, cover your, cover your mouth when you cough, wash your hands and practice social distancing. Thank you. Black women's CI for this opportunity. And, um, I look forward to. You guys doing your part as well. That was Chanel epidemic.
[00:48:57] Chanel: Thank you. And goodbye. [00:49:00]
[00:49:00] Lisa woolfork: That was Chanel, a clinician and licensed practical nurse working in the Tidewater region of Virginia, working at a COVID 19 CLA slash flu clinic. Um, asking us to do our part. And I want to contribute to that and honor that by giving you a few action steps that I believe are that are important.
[00:49:18] Lisa woolfork: Just remember the very basics, social distancing, stay home. Y'all I talked to my mother today and she said, oh, you know, we've been doing good. You know, um, she lives with, you know, some family members at home. And, but then she said that somebody came by to visit and it was a girl that she had taught my mother's elementary school teacher for many years.
[00:49:40] Lisa woolfork: And she's got a lot of former students who now have kids and she taught my mother taught so long. Y'all she taught. People. And then those people grew up and had children and she taught them too. Right. So, you know, also she's awesome. She's a nice lady and people are coming by to visit her and [00:50:00] check it, not check in on her.
[00:50:01] Lisa woolfork: They're coming to visit her because they have free time. Now, apparently I was furious and I usually do not, of course, curse at my mother. I would never curse at my mother ever, but I was so mad. I was like, ma, those people are not being helpful and they need to stay the hell away from you because you are 81 years old and have one freaking kidney.
[00:50:25] Lisa woolfork: This is not the time friends to be visiting your old fourth grade teacher because you happen to be around and you have some free time. If you really wanna check in with your fourth grade teacher, then I'm sure you haven't thought about in 40 years, but okay. Whatevs. Call her on the phone. You know, she has a phone call her, ask if she needs something, ask if you could drop it off at the front door of her house.
[00:50:48] Lisa woolfork: Right. But this is not the time for social calls, especially to people who were in their eighties. I was so furious. I did tell my sister mama, if you listen to this podcast, I told Stephanie, [00:51:00] she'll be giving you a call, sorry, but I was really upset. And I want you to be safe and people are obviously not doing that around you.
[00:51:10] Lisa woolfork: So my bad, so practice social distancing call. Like I know when we, we go to the store, not as often as we used to, but like whenever I go out to the store, I call my neighbors, you know, who are up in the age of like my mother. And I'm like, okay, I'm going to the store. I'm at Costco. What do you need? Do you need anything so that they don't have to go out?
[00:51:31] Lisa woolfork: I noticed some stores have started practicing things like early hours for elderly people or people who are seen as in high risk categories. Um, so I think that's a great step, but I think, you know, keeping them safe is to keep them in their compromised immune systems away from this virus. And that's, I think the best step that we can do, if you wanna use your sew.
[00:51:56] Lisa woolfork: To, um, to support this virus, to not [00:52:00] support the virus. Good Lord, to support the fight against this virus, make your homemade masks. I haven't made any yet, but I'm telling you after I talked to my mother and before I decided to snitch on my mother to my sister, I, she asked me for a mask y'all y'all know, I don't think these masks are effective.
[00:52:17] Lisa woolfork: I think that the droplet rate and the droplet size for this virus is way smaller than can get in. It can totally get into your quilting, cotton masks or whatever. But my mother asked me for some, so I'm gonna make her some, and I'm gonna send them to her. I'm gonna send them to her with the caveat that ma this is not for you to be going to Sam's club now.
[00:52:40] Lisa woolfork: Right? So maybe I shouldn't make her one then maybe she'd stay home. I'll think about that. No, no. I said I would do it, so I'm gonna do it. I don't like to tell lies. Um, so I will make her one and you can make well now I was like, and you can make her one too, please. Don't please. Don't send me a million mass to give to my mother.
[00:52:59] Lisa woolfork: Um, [00:53:00] Make them, I guess the, the bottom line that I'm gonna basically answer is that respond to local needs respond to local needs. There are a lot of local needs and a lot of places that could definitely use and appreciate your homemade mask. Yes, they are not effective, um, or very, very effective. They have very low effective rates in the transmission and that it is a good chance that if you are wearing this mask near someone who has this virus, you will catch it.
[00:53:30] Lisa woolfork: Um, because the mask cannot catch all the, the viral particulates. Right. It'll of course it'll help you probably, if someone sneezes on you, but. I don't know. I don't think so, but it would be helpful just to stay away from people who might sneeze on you. That's a better solution. Right? Um, but this is, these are some places that I believe, and I have this in my list of places who could use and benefit from homemade masks.
[00:53:54] Lisa woolfork: There are places and hospitals around the country, including the university of Virginia. I put the address in the show notes for [00:54:00] this. If you wanna send homemade masks, they will accept them. Um, there's lots of other hospitals that were accept. accepting them at one time. And then they stopped because they got too many, they got enough and they, they asking people to send them elsewhere.
[00:54:14] Lisa woolfork: So check your local area, call your urgent cares, call your, um, ask what, what your own internal medicine doctor is doing. Find out if there's some geriatric clinics, because those folks really need them. Some for the patients and some for the, the staff, some for the people that check you in at the front door, all those folks could benefit who are exposed to sick people or potentially sick people could benefit from a homemade mask.
[00:54:39] Lisa woolfork: I also ask people to check out the call, the jails in prisons, um, because a, a, a COVID 19 outbreak in a prison is a catastrophe. It is a human rights catastrophe. And we're already seeing that in terms of how prisoners are being treated, the way that people who haven't even been convicted of a crime, because courts are closed, they can't be [00:55:00] processed.
[00:55:00] Lisa woolfork: So they've not been convicted of anything, but they can't even face a judge. You know, in order to start moving the process along. So there's lots of places. Medical offices, hospital, administrators, who, again, don't see patients, but who, um, who check people in, who, um, who do all the records and stuff behind the scenes.
[00:55:23] Lisa woolfork: You know, they are exposed every day too, because they're out in the world. And so call and see what your local needs are. There's also grassroots groups. I know we have one here in Charlottesville. I imagine there I've seen them. I saw one pop up in Harlem in lots of other places where people are doing community care.
[00:55:40] Lisa woolfork: These folks are like people who have training as medics, um, they're community organizers. They could benefit with some masks. So I'm not saying that the masks are totally useless. I'm saying that they should not be used as a, uh, panacea, especially when they are a placebo, the combination of a [00:56:00] placebo as a panacea.
[00:56:02] Lisa woolfork: Is is a really bad scenario. And so if we're gonna get through this, which we are, um, we have to, um, everybody try to take care of themselves and take care of each other. And it means doing boring things like staying home and sad things like I did, I had to cancel my 50th birthday party. It was supposed to be, it was gonna be in Vegas.
[00:56:26] Lisa woolfork: It was gonna be amazing. My sisters had put together all of this stuff and they got my flight and I was gonna stay. I'd never been to Las Vegas before, and I was gonna stay at this really nice hotel and we were gonna get massages and makeup and a photo shoot, and my mother was gonna come and it was just gonna be absolutely amazing because you only turned 50 once.
[00:56:46] Lisa woolfork: And, um, all of that has changed. You know, we are all living through changes and so I am home. And one of the changes did I, I think I mentioned this in the notes. I'm not sure if y'all read the notes or not, but, [00:57:00] um, my podcast studio, I'm now sharing it with a college student. Yeah. Yeah. The podcast studio is now back to being.
[00:57:08] Lisa woolfork: Riley's room. So I have to kind of like find a good time, you know, to get into the studio and record the podcast. Actually, I'm, I'm nearly up at, with my time. I told him I would be done about, um, eight minutes ago. So I'm gonna get going, but I thank you all so much for listening. Um, if you, um, please share the episode with other folks.
[00:57:29] Lisa woolfork: If you have comments or questions, you can, you know, you can send me a DM. It's my birthday. So if you wanna send me a present, you could totally send me a cash app or, um, Venmo or some such thing. I will put that in the show notes too. Hashtag paid black women. Why not? Um, I really wanna get some fabric, so probably before they stop shipping things out for fabric, people could gimme some money to do that.
[00:57:53] Lisa woolfork: That'll be awesome. Um, but again, everybody stay safe. Uh, wash your hands, um, stay six feet away [00:58:00] from people at a minimum. If the, the sooner we do the social distancing, the sooner we, um, do all of these are required, the sooner we can get this resolved. So on that note, um, I would be back next week. And, um, thank you so much for listening.
[00:58:19] Lisa woolfork: Oh, um,
[00:58:36] Lisa woolfork: Thank you for joining us for this week's episode of the stitch, please podcast the official podcast of black women's stitch, the sewing group, where black lives matter. There are a variety of ways that you can support the program and you're doing it right. By listening to the pro, by listening to the podcast, it does help us grow.
[00:58:56] Lisa woolfork: Another way to do that is to rate the [00:59:00] podcast, review it, subscribe to it. All of these things are ways that you can support the podcast without having to spend any money at all. If you would like to spend some money to support us, there are ways to do that as well. You can make direct donations to our Patreon site for monthly contributions, as well as one time contributions to PayPal cash app or Venmo.
[00:59:21] Lisa woolfork: And finally, we have another cute, very adorable way for you to support the black women's ditch project. It's a pin, a PI N enamel lapel pin. That's very cute. It's about two inches wide and one and a half inch tall. And it's of the black women's stitch logo. And that is $15 with free shipping to the us.
[00:59:45] Lisa woolfork: And so if you drop $15 in the, a PayPal, Venmo or cash app accounts, and then send me your email. No, not email. If you send me your mailing address to my email, either at black women's [01:00:00] firstname.lastname@example.org or you send me a direct message on the black womens stitch Instagram page, we will put the pin in the mail to you.
[01:00:09] Lisa woolfork: Um, again, free shipping, $15 for the pin, and all of this goes to support the black women's stitch project. Thank you again for joining us this week. Come back next week and we will help you get your stitch together.