In the strangely altered world that Covid-19 sees descending upon us – perhaps too slowly here in Australia, in the sense that federal messages lack clarity with regard to what is and is not allowable – stress is plainly taking its toll. Many of my fellow workers are finding it difficult to focus. The differing loyalties of private citizen and public servant are tested on a daily basis. We watch the numbers unfold and we keep working.
I can report that, from my perspective, the world is much quieter without planes overhead and with a reduction in the number of the vehicles passing our front door. As public service is essential service, I am still commuting daily by public transport. There are fewer fellow commuters. We are probably not the regulation 1.5 metres apart, but at about one person per double seat, that might be the best we can do for now. Nobody coughs. Nobody sneezes. I’m sure nobody would dare!
YoungB is now established in his home office set-up and officially working from home (or WFH, as the current jargon has it). My office has trialled it for a small team. There’s an overall business contingency plan (BPC) that is encouraging us to set up now, so that we’re all ready to jump should the word come from on high. Which “on high” that is may come down to being a decision as to whether we eventually heed state or federal edicts. Whichever it is, it won’t be up to me. I’ll just do as I’m told.
I have made a couple of masks that are definitely not hospital grade, nor intended to be. It is true that, in earlier days, hospital masks were made of gauze fabric, and sufficiently effective to have been around for many years. Times change, and newer production technologies mean that more effective materials are now available for those running the highest risks.
However, like those earlier hospital masks, what ours do is provide some protection against droplets: protecting us from the droplets of others, and others from our droplets. For the small amount of time Dr B is out and about doing essentials, it’s enough for him. He meets criteria for two of the high-risk categories and is increasingly anxious about the casualness with which fellow citizens are behaving in our neighbourhood. He can’t do anything about their behaviour, only his own. This mask helps to give him some degree of comfort.
The fabric is a very old cotton from my inherited stash, lined with a softer cotton that’s a plain, dark colour. The pattern is something of a hack from many of the excellent tutorials out there in www land, particularly YouTube. Dr B has a large frame, which meant that I needed to get the size right. I’m not convinced I got the pleats right – perhaps I should have used the iron more judiciously – but the resulting mask is a comfortable fit. I needed to tweak the length of the elastic to ensure a close fit around his face, but that was all. Most tutorials recommend bag ties for the nose-grip, but I used pipe cleaner because that’s what I had. It works.
To our immense relief, all our Italian family members are safe at this time.
Wherever you are, I hope all your family members are safe, too.
Stay home. Wash your hands. And take care. 🙂