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People are making DIY masks to fight coronavirus. But do they actually work?

Lorenzo Reyes
USA TODAY

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to engulf the United States, a so that customers can make facemasks at home to donate to hospitals. The company even has a video tutorial on its website that shows the proper methods to assemble the masks.

In Arizona, a nonprofit in Flagstaff, Threaded Together, is using surgical fabric recycled by the Flagstaff Medical Center to sew masks. A Gilbert small business, My Little Homemade Shop, started sewing masks and giving them away for free after local health care workers reported not being provided masks because they were not considered “at-risk,” and after the owner of the shop heard that doctors in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Staff were wearing bandanas instead.

Meanwhile, a number of companies and retailers have shifted their operation to help manufacture masks. The clothing company Hanes, for example, is retrofitting its factories to produce masks, though the company will not have the capabilities for them to meet N95 standards.

“The masks we are making use three-ply cotton fabric and are reusable and washable,” HanesBrands chief communications officer Matt Hall wrote in an email to USA TODAY. “They are designed to be used when N-95 respirator masks or formal surgical masks are not required or are not available.”

Fashion designer Christian Siriano, Los Angeles Apparel founder and former head of American Apparel Dov Charney and swimsuit designer Karla Colletto have also committed to producing personal protective equipment for medical staff

Mask shortage: How FEMA, businesses and Donald Trump are confronting the nation's N95 mask shortage

U赢电竞竞猜The Federal Emergency Management Agency does have a strategic reserve of N95 masks and has begun distributing them to states in need, but many local hospitals fear that stockpiles will soon be depleted.

U赢电竞竞猜Many health care workers are being forced to ration their N95 masks, and some who don’t have access to N95 masks are resorting to surgical masks, otherwise known as facemasks. Yet, the CDC advises against health care professionals using these masks when treating coronavirus patients.

The FDA does not have specifications for homemade masks, but the DIY masks many in the country are crafting are most like the loose-fitting surgical masks.

U赢电竞竞猜The FDA states that when properly worn, surgical masks are “meant to help block large-particle droplets, splashes, sprays or splatter that may contain germs (viruses and bacteria), keeping it from reaching your mouth and nose.”

U赢电竞竞猜The FDA added, however, that a surgical mask “by design, does not filter or block very small particles in the air that may be transmitted by coughs, sneezes, or certain medical procedures.”

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