In many places, along with social distancing, masks are either being highly recommended or required. Some stores have even been given the right to turn unmasked customers away.
The requirement comes after people made an initial scramble for masks, and since then, some who have been unable to find or make their own have come up with some pretty creative but decidedly questionable substitutes.
While surgical masks and N-95 respirators are some of the most effective masks, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, they “are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.”
So that leaves us with DIY options. They aren’t a guarantee that you won’t catch the virus, but they are an added layer of protection, and along with maintaining an acceptable distance from non-household members and staying home as much as possible, they are part of a good prevention plan.
Anyone with a modicum of seamstress in them has hauled out the ol’ sewing machine and gotten to work making masks.
As a result, elastic has been in short supply, and crafters have been forced to look for alternatives like shoelaces, hair ties and t-shirt “yarn.”
Not everyone is as handy with a needle and thread or knows someone who is, so what are the rest of us supposed to do?
That’s where Mister Bandana and others like him come in. For a basic face covering, all you’ll need is a bandana and two rubber bands — things you most likely have on hand stuffed in a closet or drawer.
An April 7 video detailed how to whip up a makeshift mask in under a minute, and the video has been shared and used many times.
“Flash tutorial: turn your bandana into a face mask, in under one minute!” the video caption said. “All you need is: your favorite bandana, 2 rubber bands. And voilà! It’s that easy. NOTE: if you have big ears, just adjust the placement of the rubber bands.”
Some folks have pointed out that the cotton itself offers very little protection in the way of filtering out the virus itself, but that is not the point of this kind of mask.
The point of a cotton or any other makeshift mask is to keep your bodily products to yourself and offer a physical barrier. They are not foolproof, they are simply a bit better than wearing nothing at all.
After sharing Mister Bandana’s video, Good Morning America made sure to point out this distinction.
“Cloth face coverings – should be worn by anyone leaving the house,” GMA wrote in a comment on their video. “This is because pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals are still contagious even though they don’t have any symptoms and don’t know they’re contagious.”
“Cloth face coverings serve as an extra barrier to keep viral particles IN. They help protect those near the wearer. Should still maintain physical distancing of 6 feet.”
“Face masks like n95 and surgical masks are for health care providers and the sick. Face covers are to protect others from you.”
“The best way to minimize the spread and risk of catching a virus is physical distancing of at least 6 feet, properly washing your hands, keeping your hands away from your mouth, eyes and nose – which are the only way we know the virus can enter your system and make you sick.”
The CDC lists the above method as one of three DIY cloth face coverings. If you would like to see the others, you can check them out on the CDC’s official website.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.