It’s interesting how to see how different countries handle the COVID-19 pandemic response. In Asia, virtually everybody is now wearing a face mask, sometimes hand-made due to supply issues, but in Europe and North America at least, I’ve seen authorities tell healthy people not to wear a mask at all, and reserve them to health professionals. I’ve even seen some nasty comments on Twitter complaining about people wearing masks at the grocery store (in the US) as they took supply out of health professionals.
I personally think this is madness for a disease that is known to transmit from asymptomatic people, and I’m shocked to learn some people working at supermarkets are not given masks. But when I send photos from Thailand to my brother in France, he’s always surprised to see everybody wearing a mask. But everything points to masks being effective.
N95 masks are the best, followed by surgical masks, but hand-made masks, or even wearing a bandana helps, although they do not filter droplets just as well, and while you wear any of those masks, you should probably just take the same precautions as if you didn’t wear any.
Governments have stockpiles of oil and food, but most (all?) did not prepare for a pandemic and face masks are in short supply. So with China having stabilized, many companies are now producing face masks, even electronics manufacturers since prices have gone through the roof, and I’m receiving emails daily about TV boxes or electronics company selling face masks… For reference, a box of 50 face masks used to cost about $2 locally, but now the quote I get for similar masks from China is closer to $14.
Some companies are also trying to help makers specifically, and for example, Seeed Studio offered free face masks to Makerspaces and Fablabs. Full disclosure: I also received a box of 50 face masks.
Sadly, all boxes are gone, but Pine64 is now giving away 50,000 face masks to makers as Pine64 factory is also making those like everybody else.
Since demand is likely to be high, priority will be given in the following order:
- Forums and chat moderators
- Partner-project developers
- Community developers (anyone who contributed code to a PINE64 device
- Developers from key projects to PINE64 community (e.g. SUNXI, Lima, Panfrost, etc.,)
- Others at my discretion
You’ll find the full details in Pine64 Forum announcement. I’ll post other face mask giveaways in the comments section if any.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.