Letters to the Editor: Making masks to fight coronavirus is the average citizen's patriotic duty

Upland resident Bibi Sheonarine puts on a homemade face mask.  (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The recommendation that people wear homemade masks in public is similar to when, during both World War I and World War II, citizens planted "victory gardens" for food.

Growing vegetables that could help feed a family, take the strain off the stores and help supply neighbors became a patriotic badge of honor. This practice also had the benefit of giving folks something to do when they felt powerless.

In the L.A. Times, we read not only about businesses retooling their factories to make masks, but also of average citizens making face coverings, and not only for themselves. The comparison is obvious: Making masks is today's version of planting victory gardens.

Making masks keeps us occupied and is something we can do for our community. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Arthur Rosenberg, Tarzana

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To the editor: Two weeks ago, I watched an Italian man in a video showing a no-sew method to turn underwear into a face mask. "Never will I ever," I laughed.

Since then, Riverside County started requiring residents to wear masks in public. There are none available for purchase, so I am looking into making masks for family and friends, especially my elderly parents. Unfortunately, supplies for sewing them are sold out, unavailable until late May or are overpriced.

I'm been up late at night trying to find guidance on the right materials (what does "high thread count" mean?) and wondering if my father will wear a mask with pink flowers. Now, I'm eyeing my husband's underwear drawer and thinking, "Maybe...."

Theresa Heiney, Murrieta

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To the editor: Our federal, state and local leaders have recommended voluntary face covering to help mitigate the virus spread. I wonder why mandatory measures haven't been put in place for face covering in some essential locations like supermarkets, where exposure to the virus poses a greater risk.

I shudder to think of what the produce sections may harbor with uncovered faces in close proximity to the products.

Stephen Curtis, Granada Hills

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To the editor: The millions of homemade masks that will be worn in California are only partially effective. They may stop the larger droplets, but not the micro-droplets that are believed to carry the most virus particles because these come directly from the lung.

As a scientist, I am concerned about these tiny particles.

The smallest droplets can easily linger in air suspension for hours. Just think of the beach and the ocean: With a strong westerly breeze and substantial waves, the spray launched at the wave crests can easily be carried hundreds of feet. People who walk or ride bikes on a beach path can actually feel this moisture in the air.

The masks will, however, deter the wearer from finger touching his or her face and be reasonably effective against larger droplets.

Jorg Raue, Rancho Palos Verdes