A DIY Guide to Self Protection


The Corona Virus is here in the United States, its origins exactly unknown, its treatment unknown and the composition of the virus unknown – so far.  Although CNN and every other news outlet have hammered out the fact that the CDC is testing infected patients and is monitoring its progress continuously.


A quick scan at the online stores for the most basic protection one can think of, and you will find almost all stores are out of stock of medical face masks (N95 is the rated minimal acceptable protection cited in the news).  And the normal price of these masks was only a few weeks ago roughly 25 cents per item, now the price ranges from $1.30 to $3.00 per disposable 3-ply paper mask.  The washable reusable masks are even pricier starting from $10 per mask and up – if you can find them at any retail outlet.

But the progression of the epidemic has just started, and the CDC has only gloomy predictions about its future.  The President of the United States has invoked the War Act to force companies to switch productions to these medical masks but these items are not yet in the pipeline and most are made in China (presenting possible delays in satisfying a huge demand yet to manifest itself).



A mask is a filter, a barrier that prevents the migration or movement of specific particulates and molecules from one physical space to another.  It works on the same principles as your Heating and Air Conditioning space filters.  When you cough, sneeze or breathe and you have a mask on, it contains the microbes and saliva particulates and prevents them from immediately dispersing to the occupants near you and in high concentrations.  If a person sneezes next to you, and you have a mask on, it slows down the rate of penetration and concentration of the particulates they eject from entering your lungs.  The principle is very simple and has been in application for hundreds of years before the advent of modern space filtration equipment.