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Fact-check: Are homemade face masks helpful in protecting against coronavirus?

in COVID-19/Investigations

By Juliette Rihl, PublicSource

Amid national shortages of personal protective equipment [PPE] due to COVID-19, many people have felt compelled to make essential supplies — particularly face masks. National retailer JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores is providing resources for volunteers to make masks to donate to hospitals; fashion designers are switching from sewing couture to sewing face masks; and local do-gooders with sewing machines and skills have taken up their needles and thread.

But how effective are homemade masks for protecting against the coronavirus? According to health experts, not very.

“A handmade cloth mask or bandana, or gown, while a fantastic gesture to support our frontline responders and healthcare workers, likely will not provide the needed level of protection against COVID-19,” wrote Nate Wardle, the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s [DOH] press secretary, in an email to PublicSource.

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