To Mask or Not to Mask

The Corona Times – April 3, 2020

by Rhonda Gunter

Photo of sewing maching and supplies for making facemasks

Supplies at the ready for making face masks

In my last entry in the Corona Times Journal I fretted about being stuck at home during the COVID-19 crisis.  Even the fun stuff like reading and binging on television, I complained, got old day in, day out.  I’ve now found something that keeps me busy, and hopefully, will help others in this emergency.

I’m sewing face masks!

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have issued mixed messages about whether healthy people should wear masks during the COVID-19 crisis.  CDC initially advised against it, saying the masks provided no protection.  However, there is word from some Asian nations that widespread use of masks has helped prevent transmission of the virus due to the large number of asymptomatic virus sufferers.  Many health professionals are now encouraging the wearing of masks.

Photo of Rhonda Gunter wearing a homemade face mask

Modeling my work!

The trouble is, masks are in short supply; even our emergency medical personnel are having trouble getting PPE (personal protective equipment.)  To keep what commercial masks there are available for our healthcare workers, many folks are making their own masks.  There are patterns galore on the Internet.

I heard that some caregivers at Mitchell House Assisted Living in Spruce Pine were running short of masks; while they are themselves making some masks, I decided to sew masks in case they needed more.  At the same time, I’d have them for myself and my family and friends.

I purchased 4 yards of fabric at Walmart, along with elastic, downloaded and printed a pattern, and began working to make as many masks as possible.   I made about 25 the first day and can likely sew another 50 or so with the fabric and elastic I have.  Other folks have had the same idea I had, though, and the stores have sold out of elastic.

When emergencies occur, it’s very easy to feel helpless and unproductive, so doing this simple task makes me feel helpful and useful.  Besides, I’ve always enjoyed sewing!  I know not everyone has tailoring skills, but there is likely something proactive each of us can do during these Corona Virus times.

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About the Numbers

You will note a series of numbers contained in the blog. They document the spread of virus through confirmed cases by the federal Centers for Disease Control and by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. These are the official totals provided by state and local government at the date of the post and do not include estimates or cases not confirmed by these agencies. This is our effort to provide an accurate gauge of confirmed virus spread as it continues during the pandemic.


Cases in North Carolina


Deaths in North Carolina


Current Hospitalizations
in North Carolina


Cases in Western North Carolina


Deaths in
Western North Carolina


Cases in the United States


Deaths in the United States

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