‘I don’t really have a choice’: L.A. garment workers are risking their lives to sew masks

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As the pandemic worsens, immigrants in L.A.’s garment district have little protection from the coronavirus—even as they make masks for others. While Maria was sewing hundreds of face masks each day at a Los Angeles factory, she never received one herself. Her employer didn’t offer, she says, despite the coronavirus pandemic burning through California. Though she brought her own face mask, many of her coworkers went barefaced. One of them has already been infected with COVID-19. Maria is worried she might be next. Read Full Story

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How your business can help fight coronavirus: One brand’s pivot to making masks

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The brand collaborated with a doctor to create a fabric mask with an insert for a HEPA filter. Ellen Bennett felt like she was flailing last week. The owner of Hedley & Bennett worried about how quickly the coronavirus was spreading and was concerned about how she was going to keep paying her 30 employees if the economy shut down. Then, on Friday, she saw that designer Christian Siriano had started making masks to tackle the shortage of medical supplies. “It was like someone flung a brick at my head,” Bennett says. “I’ve always been a wake-up-and-fight kind of a girl. And I thought, ‘This is fucking game time.'” Read Full Story

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People hated masks during the 1918 pandemic, too. 675,000 Americans died

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America’s divisiveness over masks is alarmingly familiar: Everyone from streetcar conductors to physicians railed against masks during the 1918 pandemic. Said one public official: “Under no circumstances will I be muzzled like a hydrophobic dog.” We have all seen the headlines: Coronavirus cases are surging in 40 states , with new cases and hospitalization rates climbing at an alarming rate. Health officials have warned that the U.S. must act quickly to halt the spread – or we risk losing control over the pandemic. Read Full Story

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5 ways to check on your team’s well-being without being invasive

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Here’s how to express empathetic curiosity about your workers, without seeming like a snoop. During a recent video meeting, one of our star employees appeared to be struggling. She was uncharacteristically reserved and distracted. Her contributions were also scattered, when she’s usually precise and outspoken. COVID-19 has turned life upside down for many of us, and pandemic fatigue is real. But there’s a difference between having a bad day and something more serious. I wondered how to check on her without being intrusive. Read Full Story

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I’m an emergency medicine doctor: Here’s how we’re using ultrasound in innovative ways to combat COVID-19

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I work at one of Philadelphia’s biggest hospitals, where we’re starting to see a surge in COVID-19 cases, and we’ve been able to adapt this common technology to more quickly diagnose coronavirus than using other techniques. Tall and thin, wearing blue jeans, the patient walked past me in the emergency department. Wearing a surgical mask, he walked behind the triage nurse following her to the patient room and got hooked up to the heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen monitor. When I entered, rolling a cart with an ultrasound machine the size of a laptop, I heard the fast beeping accompanying the rate of his heartbeat. I was wearing the uniform that’s become standard in the last two months: the awkward set of equipment and garments that people have come to know as PPE (personal protective equipment). Bouffant hat, light-blue plastic gown wrapped and tied at the waist, oversized goggles, …

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Why haven’t they designed reusable N95 masks?

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As the country faces a shortage of protective gear and healthcare workers are asked to keep masks in paper bags between shifts, why don’t we have masks that can be disinfected safely? One of the tragedies of the coronavirus crisis is the lack of protection for healthcare workers: With a shortage of N95 masks—the respirators that can help filter out virus-filled droplets from coughs or sneezes—doctors and nurses in the U.S. are begging the government to do more to increase production. In Italy and China, thousands of doctors were infected with COVID-19 in part because they didn’t have masks, gloves, or other protection. Many have died. Read Full Story

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