While travelers spread coronavirus around the world in January, US federal health officials poo-pooed wearing face masks.
Thankfully, finally, on April 3, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on PBS NewsHour, “Putting a mask on yourself is more to prevent you from infecting someone else…people who are without symptoms at all can transmit the virus.” The CDC agreed. We can all pull together by wearing face masks.
Here is how the motion picture business can help. Few other industries are as good at rapid sourcing and just in time ordering. Just ask Jon Fry at CVP or any rental house who absolutely positively must sub-rent something from far away. Or ask any Production Manager how to get essential supplies right away.
So, please contact your colleagues in places where face masks are prevalent. N95 masks should be donated to your nearest hospital. Donate surgical masks or make them yourself for essential workers. Be careful–read about which materials to choose.
A month earlier, the mixed messages here in the US were: “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. It could lead to a shortage of masks for the people who really need them.”
And yet, masks have been prevalent in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China for years. Why were we not learning from their experiences?
As early as February 13, on a Skype video conference with Jeffrey Chiu and Cheng Seng in Taipei, they were all wearing masks. A few days later, February 17, Yasuhide Yamada and the team at Panasonic in Osaka were on the video screen with their masks.
On March 16, Lu Sheng emailed from Ko Film Rental in Beijing: “We would like to remind you in good faith that you are advised to wash your hands and prepare masks. We advise you to wear a mask, especially when traveling by subway, train and other public transport.”
On March 20, Lu Sheng emailed again: “I strongly urge all of you to remain at home.” He then generously donated and shipped a box of masks for our healthcare workers.
On March 20, California became the first state to order residents to stay home. New York followed at 8pm on Sunday, March 22.
On March 26, Tina Yao donated a box of masks and shipped them for our healthcare workers.
It is the beginning of Spring here in New York. The cherry and magnolia trees are flowering. Too many people are still too close together walking in the streets. We should all wear masks and carry on.