COVID-19 and shielding (UK)

15 May 2020:

Did you know that you can send a Sainsbury’s e-gift card to a friend or volunteer so that he or she can shop for you?

For those of you who are running out of things to do and haven’t heard of it yet, then look into the free app “WordFeud”. It can help a lot. I was introduced to it by someone with progressive MS.

4 May 2020:

Patterns for scrubs, tops and bottoms:

26 April 2020:

“A whistleblower at the National Shielding Helpline tells how call centre staff mock the disabled – and have so little training that vulnerable people are hung up upon or ignored” “Coronavirus lockdown: helpline staff ‘mock and fob off’ vulnerable callers” and “Meanwhile, councils say govt strategy for shielding the most vulnerable 1.5m is a mess. “

24 April 2020:

Vistaprint has face masks with replaceable filter. These are not medical PPE-type masks. They do help you limit the chance that you spread virus particles. Fit them well to you face. Make it a smug fit. But below is a pattern for how to make your own fabric mask.

23 April 2020:

Virus particles can stay alive on surgical masks for up to 7 days, but it is probably important to remember that surgical masks worn in medical setting are exposed to high viral loads. The particles don’t stay alive on fabric/cloth for longer than two days. So if you use a home-made mask twice a week with more than two days in between, that should be okay. They don’t stay alive on paper for long either (a few hours). Source: 

21 April 2020:

The term “shielding” is used in the UK with regard to health-compromised people. They are more vulnerable to COVID-19 and are expected to shield themselves at home while others look after them.

The government’s advice with regard to these carers is still about hand-washing and the tissue issue and still focuses on coughing and on running a fever (21 April):

The official slogan became “anyone can spread COVID-19” some time ago, after the government hired that communications expert. Why has the info for people who are advised to shield not been updated? (The website was updated on 19 April with a childish rebuttal in response to an analysis in The Sunday Times – mostly in defence of Boris Johnson instead of on health-related matters.)

26 April 2020: The info may have been updated now but the date at the top may may not have been. Looks like “clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home” has been added, for example. (Will check) Still says “avoid close contact with people who have symptoms”, which ignores asymptomatic spreading.


14 April 2020:

Report on the effectiveness of fabric masks:

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2020. Rapid Expert Consultation on the Effectiveness of Fabric Masks for the COVID-19 Pandemic (April 8, 2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

>>> Scroll down for instructions for how to make one.

6 April 2020:

2 April 2020:
This morning, I was startled to read this on Twitter, but I understand how it comes about.

“I am spending 7 days a week organising volunteer support for older people being “shielded” at home living on their own. Some of them have 8 different carers coming into their home each day, with no PPE at all, all using the older person’s landline phone.”

    • I have drawn up a list of things one can do in this kind of situation. It won’t and can’t be 100% perfect but every small precaution taken lowers the risk of accidentally infecting someone. People can always add an extra step, eliminate one, or adapt one. Ideally, we’d have lots of disposable or washable and reusable face masks, for instance. But we don’t.

Face masks:
    • People in Belgium and the Netherlands are making simple face masks for carers etc. (okayed by Health Belgium, not for use in a clinical setting, I reckon; see below, under the PDF). They use sewing machines. The masks look very good, even cover the chin and have two times two straps. Into them, you insert filters made from cut-up vacuum cleaner bags – usually very good filters these days, certainly if you use one that cuts back on allergies – but even without the filters, wearing these masks would already help limit the risk of accidentally infecting people who need to be shielded.

Below is a link to pattern and instructions, in ENGLISH:

Click to access Facemask_pattern_and_guidelines_20200318_v2.pdf

    • Here is a link about a Dutch hospital (Reinier de Graaf ziekenhuis in Delft, led by Carina Hilders) that tested a range of materials for making masks – in cooperation with RIVM (Dutch version of American CDC; English counterpart might be PHE?) – and a sewing workshop that is now making multilayered-filter face masks that contain components (HEPA filters, presumably) of vacuum cleaner bags, with video, in Dutch:

[5 April 2020: Am trying to get instructions for those.]
[6 April 2020: These masks are still being tested extensively. The Dutch – I am Dutch – are sticklers for rules.]

For the record: Many people believe that unless you use words that nobody understands, you can’t possibly be educated and/or intelligent and/or knowledgeable. But we do not need words that nobody understands right now. Jargon should only be used to communicate within a discipline itself.