GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — U.S. health officials are learning more about how the novel coronavirus is spreading and have since changed their stance on face masks.
After initially saying it was not necessary, they now recommend people wear cloth or fabric face masks when out in public.
The CDC says high-end N95 masks should be reserved for healthcare workers, but say cloth masks are more effective than not wearing one at all.
Michigan State Senator Dr. John Bizon (R-Battle Creek) is joining the many health professionals in advising people to cover their faces.
"The masks are going to be helpful in trying to cut down the transmission rate so that the epidemic is gradually lowered," Bizon said.
Bizon said its especially helpful because some people could be carrying the virus but are asymptomatic.
"Depending on how they make (the mask) could be very much better than nothing, and some of the studies suggested that it's even better than the surgical masks that we typically use in the operating room," Bizon said.
The masks can even be with common household materials without leaving the house. Bizon says his daughter made one for him at home and has been wearing it when he visits the grocery store.
Even those who aren't crafty and don't have a sewing machine can make a face mask from common household materials. Just follow the steps below.
1) Cut a 100% cotton t-shirt into a rectangle just under the sleeves. Save the backside of the shirt — that can be used to make another mask.
2) Starting with the longest side, fold the fabric into thirds.
3) Divide the folded shirt into three equal parts using two shoelaces.
4) Loop the shoelaces under and around each side.
5) Fold the left side over and then tuck the right side into the open end.
6) Loops the shoelaces around the ears and tie the strings behind the head to secure the mask.
The masks are good for the occasional grocery store trip and can be washed after each use. Several other methods are even more effective. Click here for more on what the CDC recommends.
This story was originally published by Aaron Parseghian on WXMI in Grand Rapids, Michigan.