Skip To Content
  • Coronavirus badge

Everything You Need To Know About The New Face Mask Guidelines

Including how to make them, where to (affordably!) get them, and why the CDC is changing its recommendations.

As we learn more about the novel coronavirus and how it spreads, researchers' findings are leading the CDC to change its recommendations about face masks to prioritize public safety.

First, a bit about why the CDC pivoted. More insight into the coronavirus revealed two key factors about the spread: One is that research has indicated that people can transmit the virus asymptomatically, meaning people exhibiting no symptoms can, in fact, spread it.

The other factor is that the coronavirus can be spread by people who are in close proximity, such as just speaking to each other.

While there is still very little research on how much protection cloth face masks give to people wearing them, many health experts now agree they are better than nothing — especially since they may stop people from spreading the virus if they don't know they have it.

So here's what else you might be wondering about how to buy, make, and use face masks:

1. This is all well and good, but I keep hearing masks are in super-short supply. Where do I fit into this?

2. I don't have a mask right now. What can I use?

3. Where *can* I buy a mask, though?

4. How can I make my own mask?

An extremely fun fact is that you don't need a sewing machine or, truly, any crafting skills to make your own mask at home! Here are a few tutorials to get you started.

Colin Hanks, the internet's new favorite DIY mask influencer, showed people how to make masks with a simple cloth bandana (or any square piece of fabric) and two hair ties.

The CDC also uploaded a video showing people how to make masks, where US Surgeon General Jerome Adams showed how to make them using cloth from a T-shirt, scarf, or hand towel with two rubber bands.

View this video on YouTube


It's time for all those old high school marching band T-shirts to finally do a public service.

BuzzFeed also has a Nifty video for DIY face masks that breaks down the sewing process step-by-step to ease you through it.

View this video on YouTube


BRB — turning my Harry Potter pillowcase into one.

Even TikTokers are sharing DIY videos: After dropping a popular TikTok about the scarcity of resources for health care professionals, model Marc Sebastian dropped *another* TikTok with a very quick tutorial involving a sewing machine (you will def have to hit pause).

Marc Sebastian / TikTok

That home ec course in middle school is finally coming in handy, y'all.

In addition, the CDC has uploaded written instructions with images for both no-sew and sewn face masks here.

5. Do I need to wear a mask whenever I leave the house?

6. If I'm wearing a mask, do I have to be as strict about social distancing?

7. Will I get in trouble if I'm in public and I'm not wearing a mask?

8. How do I disinfect my mask, and how often should I do it?

9. Are there any other ways I can help?

Stay safe and stay well, everyone! And read the CDC's full recommendations and protocols for face coverings here.