Ready to venture into the apocalyptic wasteland

Tomorrow, I’m planning on a brief excursion to the grocery store — just in and out, grabbing a few basics, and then escaping before the ‘rona gets me. But I have no mask! Skatje made me a nice shimmery green one, but she’s in Colorado under stay-at-home orders herself, and hasn’t been able to send it to me yet. So I improvised one, cut up an old t-shirt, and will line it with coffee filters. Will also wear a hat, scarf, and glasses.

I think I look like a low-budget 19th century highwayman. May hold up a coach as I assault the store, as well.


  1. Bruce Fuentes says

    In the spirit of supporting artisans, artists and small business I ordered a couple Puerto Rico themed masks on Etsy. The on I received so far is a motif of El Coqui(Puerto Rican frog) and the flag. I like quite stylish.

  2. blf says

    Good advice, How to make a non-medical coronavirus face mask – no sewing required.

    Sadly, however, I’m a black man in America. Entering a shop with a face mask might get me killed: “I trust the CDC’s guidance. But my fear of being mistaken for an armed robber is greater than my fear of Covid-19”. From memory, several individuals have already been refused entry / service for Wearing a Covid-19 Face Mask While Black. (Apologies, I don’t have any references.) I do not know-of / recall anyone being killed, yet

  3. blf says

    Alternatively, wear a plague mask. Actually, don’t — at least not without a modern mask underneath — as they are useless in protecting others & yourself.

  4. hemidactylus says

    I went for supplies at Publix yesterday wearing a cloth mask someone made for me with coffee filter insert and chemistry lab goggles. Probably looked ridiculous. It’s best perhaps to get all you can on each run and reduce frequency (Zombies 101). I already regret only buying a single case of [popular red, white and blue trumpenproletariat domestic brand redacted because embarrassment] beer. I never bought beer in bulk before. Learning curve.

    I didn’t wear gloves in supermarket but when I filled my tank at gas station. The gas was cheaper. Good times.

    Binging on Psych marathon. Never watched it before. Burnt out on Always Sunny and Modern Family repeats so need a new show to watch. Psych seems ok.

  5. fentex says

    It occurs to me, if that’s Darwin on your scarf, that it’s courting a smattering of an ironic death to wear his visage as protection….

  6. jrkrideau says

    @ 5 blf
    I am not so sure about a plague mask being useless. I was thinking about them a while ago and from pictures and the descriptions they might have helped at least reduce the spread of disease if the wearer was contagious.

  7. wzrd1 says

    @blf, I can’t recall the specific links, but DailyKos has one entry on a wearing mask while black patron was shaken down by police and store security and I recall two mentions on CNN.
    Still, be happy, at least you can wear a mask. When I tried, the mask was incinerated when fire spouted from my mouth at an idiot and the goggles, oh so many burned through by EUV coherent beams!
    OK, I can’t afford to cut up the few clothing items that I have to become a masked desperado.

    Tried to order food via peapod, should’ve saved time by trying to schedule first. The earliest food delivery date for the store two miles afuckingway is three weeks from now.
    I think we’ve got the damned virus, so going to the store doesn’t seem to be a grand idea, I’ll have to figure something out.
    Oh, peapod closed all customer service, save limited telephone hours, so I ripped Giant corporate a new one via their complaint form. They lost a customer, just because they couldn’t lease a few trucks and hire drivers in a market glut of workforce, all over a $175 food purchase.

  8. says

    Unfortunately for me I’m essential services so I still have to leave the house 5 days a week. I go to work. I work. If I have shopping, I do it on the way home. ONE TRIP. Leave the house once. No unnecessary trips.

  9. blf says

    jrkrideau@9, Possibly. But keep in mind a plague mask’s airholes are actually near the nostrils, and there is (as I understand it) no barriers or similar between those airholes and the nose(and mouth?).

    The idea (there was no Germ Theory at the time) was the plague was caused by miasma (foul-smelling air). Hence, the beak of a plague mask was filled with nice-smelling things to counter / overpower / neutralise / something the miasma.

    I suppose, as you suggest, if the wearer was inflected, the plague mask might help to trap / contain many — but by no means all — of the virus-carrying droplets from a sneeze or cough. Not too sure that then breathing them back in would be too great; speculating, that sounds like a way to make a mild infection worse, e.g., by increasing the chances / opportunity for the virus to infect the lungs, not just the throat. (Couldn’t that also happen with modern masks?)

  10. jrkrideau says

    @ 12 blf
    I sse what you mean. I was considering that the mask would held for air redirection for heavy breathing or coughing but I may be too optimistic.

  11. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m lucky in that I have half a box N95 masks left over from cleaning the basement 3 years ago. I also have a box and a half of nitrile gloves of similar age. My job required training in the use of respirators and gloves. I was able to go to two grocery stores and get about 3 weeks worth of food this week while feeling reasonably secure. Good luck PZ.

  12. brightmoon says

    Youngest son already has a mild case of Covid 19 . Hope his girlfriend doesn’t get it . We’re in NYC and it’s probably when instead of if I get it . Neighbor was taken to the hospital on Saturday because he couldn’t breathe. My Sister’s coworker has already died from it. I’m essential services also and I’ve already had the stress migraines and panic attacks . I was able to get masks,gloves, sanitizer bleach ,Lysol and I filled up my freezer before this got really bad ( thank God for that biology degree) . I’ve been reusing the paper masks because they can be washed gently and then sprayed with regular alcohol . I spray my coat and shoes with Lysol when I come in the house. I take all my clothes off in my foyer and set them aside for washing . I wash my face and glasses and I gargle . I then take a shower or rub down with alcohol. I cover my hair with a bandanna when I’m outside.

    New York is freaky right now. You might see 5 people on a bus or subway car. Normally they’re sardine-like. It’s like a ghost town . If you remember that scene in Crocodile Dundee where he climbed up a lamppost because of the flood of people at rush hour freaked him out. The ghost town aspect is freaking me out .

  13. logicalcat says


    The plague mask was definitely about miasma theory, but the man who invented the entire costume only included the mask as a way to get other people to wear them. He actually had a competing theory. He thinks disease is spread through some unseen vehicle. Bodily fluids being specifically important for infection. The man was a genius ahead of his time. Thats why the rest of the costume has leather covered in wax acting as a barrier between the wearer and the pt. The man (Charles De Lorme) invented PPE.

    Unfortunately as you said this was before germ theory, so even tho the concept was genius many things held it back. The suit didn’t actually completely cover head to toe, the nostrils as you said were exposed and the ankles while hidden behind the long coat could still be accessed by fleas because they didn’t know about them spreading the disease. Also while they had the right idea that patient contact spread the disease (even had a cane so they can inspect from a distance) they had no concept of sterilization. So they were responsible for spreading the plague from person to person, town to town.

  14. indianajones says

    I tend to want to shop like a Viking:
    Go in fast
    Grab what you want
    Leave the place on fire

  15. steve1 says

    If you are using Coffee filters for a face mask the correct spelling is Coughy filters. That is all.

  16. wzrd1 says

    I’ll award steve1 a day’s award for being ever so cleaver! ;)
    I’ll just get my coat…

    Hey, found where we can get ventilators cheap! Russia, where Trump shipped them “because they need them”.
    Welcome to being the newest state of the Russian Federation, since we’ve finally paid the tribute.

  17. Jazzlet says

    @ Crip Dyke
    Or “Stand in the River” as the kids in the care home one of my brothers worked in used to sing.

  18. says

    Gloves are WORSE than not wearing them if you don’t change them after you touch ANYTHING. You’re better off without, don’ty touch your face and wash or sanitize. You cannot get this via skin contact (that I know of).

  19. logicalcat says

    Via skin to skin no, but if you touch something infected and then touch someone else it can spread that way.

    But you are right. Its better no gloves unless you have boxes of the stuff. If you dont then wesring gloves gives the wearer a false sense of protection which can make you careless.

    Vigorous hand washing and social distancing is the way to go. If you must wear gloves, then at least constinue to wash your hands. Hell wash the gloves too while wearing them while your st it.

  20. wzrd1 says

    Well, one could sanitize the gloves with a standard hypochlorite solution, 1/4 cup of household bleach to a gallon of water kills most pathogens and most certainly this virus.
    More will blunt the effect, due to a handful of chemical reasons, so the good old American “This is good, so more is great” again does not apply.