You down with PPE?

by Josie Fox
Photo by Josie Fox
This cloth mask was made by are resident, Monica Thomasson, who recently gifted it to the Cherokeean’s publisher, Josie Fox. Photo by Josie Fox
This cloth mask was made by are resident, Monica Thomasson, who recently gifted it to the Cherokeean’s publisher, Josie Fox.

Is your face covered? It should be.

In recent weeks the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the use of personal protection equipment (PPE) -- face masks, cloths or coverings -- for essential workers and those needing to go into public areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain or in areas of significant community-based transmission.
The cloth face coverings recommended by the CDC are in place of the surgical masks or N-95 respirators, which are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.

According to healthcare officials, the use of cloth face coverings will aid in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and can be fashioned from many household items and can be made from common, low-cost materials. The cloth face coverings should fit snugly against the side of the face and include several layers of fabric, but still allow for easy, unrestricted breathing. The materials used should be able to be machine washed and dried without damage or changes to the shape.

The CDC also states cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing. Face coverings should also not be placed on any individual who is unconscious, incapacitated or unable to remove the mask themselves.

Several tutorials on how to make cloth face coverings can be found on the CDC website,

When it comes to cleaning and sterilizing the face coverings, they can simply be laundered in a washing machine. The covering should be washed regularly and frequently, depending on use. Contrary to a viral social media post, the cloth masks should never be placed in the microwave, as this poses a fire hazard.

Many health care professionals are advising against wearing gloves when in public, and currently, the CDC has only recommended their use when disinfecting or cleaning surfaces or when caring for someone who could transmit COVID-19 or another illness.

Wearing disposable gloves while going about a daily routine has been deemed unnecessary by medical experts.

“People likely don’t wear them appropriately,” Dr. Adalja says. “If they’re using latex medical gloves, they’re not designed for everyday use and rip easily.”

Those who wear gloves still have a tendency to touch their face, or they will remove them to touch their phone, and then place them back on.
According to the website,, “Gloves have not been advised as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 for the average citizen—and that’s largely because of how the disease is (and isn’t) transmitted, Dr. Jaimie Meyer, MD, a Yale Medicine infectious disease specialist and assistant professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine, told Health.”

According to the CDC the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact, or within six feet of each other. The disease is also spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes, coughs or talks. Recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 can be spread by those who are not showing any symptoms.

Currently, the recommended steps to prevent the contraction of the disease are to practice social distancing, non-essential workers to stay home and only go into public areas for essential items; washing hands frequently and especially after touching any public surface or using hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol; covering coughs and sneezes; avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth and face; and disinfect items prior to bringing them into the household.