Covering the Triangle helps people cover their nose, mouth
Posted April 16, 2020 5:19 p.m. EDT
Updated April 16, 2020 7:53 p.m. EDT
Durham, N.C. — Weeks into the coronavirus outbreak, there are still not enough masks to help slow the spread of the virus. A group of Durham doctors is trying to change that.
Dr. Eric Westman, Dr. Wickham Simonds and Dr. Larry Greenblatt created the group Covering the Triangle.
The group's mission is to get face coverings into the hands of under-served populations.
"These people are like sitting ducks," Dr. Greenblatt said. "We have very vulnerable populations who really, for different reasons, social distancing is difficult. And we need to protect them."
The group buys masks from about 30 local seamstresses. Kerri Martinsen is one of them. Martinsen's full-time job is on hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic as she's the Costume Director for the Carolina Ballet in Raleigh.
Martinsen sews and organizes sewers in the effort. "All of us are trained seamstresses, trained tailors," she said. "We sew for a living."
"Give people a face covering that they want to wear, as opposed to one that they feel like they have to wear," Martinsen said. "Because if you want to wear something you're going to wear it."
Dr. Greenblatt, along with the other doctors and some medical students, give away masks at the bus station, community centers and senior living facilities.
"If we hand them a mask, give them some instructions on how to tie it and how to wear it, they can wear the mask," Greenblatt explains. "We're just trying to lower the bar; so that when people are interacting with others when they're out in public, they can wear the mask."
The group also takes donations of masks, and has given away thousands. But still, the need persists. "We are now getting more requests than we can possibly meet," Greenblatt said. "So we need to give them to people who need them the most."
Dr. Greenblatt has looked at data from other countries, and he is convinced face covering is a very effective way to slow or stop the spread of the coronavirus. It's a mission he takes personally. "I am passionate about public health," he said. "I care deeply about what is happening in our community. And I want to see people as much as possible stay well, not get sick."