DIY virus protection: Hong Kongers making own masks amid shortages

first_imgSome are turning to DIY solutions — albeit of questionable quality.Judy, a 73-year-old out shopping in the district of Wanchai, was spotted in a homemade mask.”I found the material — my handkerchief, and some non-woven fabric — and I combined them and used some wire for the top, and some elastic,” she told AFP, declining to give her surname.While Hong Kong’s economy reels, business has been brisk on one street in the working-class Sham Shui Po district that boasts many fabric and tailoring shops. A colorful array of cloth masks hangs outside many of the cramped storefronts as shoppers haggle over the din of whirring sewing machines.Elase Wong, a tailor, said she was giving away her face mask sewing design.”Some people couldn’t buy any masks… So if they can make them themselves, that would be great,” she told AFP. “I hope everyone can achieve self-sufficiency.”Pop-up assembly lineThe cost of masks has skyrocketed with scarcity and the government resisting price controls or rationing, as in nearby Macau and Taiwan.A set of 50 simple surgical masks can sell for up to HK$300 (US$40), while the top of the range N95 variety is going for as high as HK$1,800 a box.A film director surnamed Tong was this week putting the finishing touches to a face mask assembly line in an industrial building.”I was shocked by the price of face masks,” he told AFP.”I did some research and realized that masks are not that difficult to make. Why do people have to bear such a high cost? Because there is no production line in Hong Kong”.With the help of an investor he managed to import a machine from India, and plans to ship more. Currently in the testing phase, the device will produce 60-80 surgical masks per minute from Saturday in a dust-free room. Tong said the masks will be sold online for HK$1-2 each, limited to one box per person. The administration of chief executive Carrie Lam says it is doing all it can to secure new supplies of face masks amid a global shortage.Output has been ramped up on a prison labor production line and there are plans to set aside HK$1.5 billion to support the creation of domestic factories.The lack of stockpiles has sparked criticism of Lam, even from among her pro-Beijing political allies.Many have expressed surprise that a city which suffered 299 deaths during the 2003 SARS outbreak was not better prepared.Since SARS, which Beijing initially covered up, Hong Kongers have embraced higher communal hygiene standards and face masks have long been a common sight, especially during the winter flu season.Joseph Kwan, a public health expert from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said widespread mask use during SARS also lowered cases of the common cold that year.In a tightly packed city like Hong Kong, new viruses will “spread like wildfire if nobody wears a mask”, he said. “It would be a public health disaster”. Topics :center_img With chronic face mask shortages in the midst of a virus outbreak, Hong Kongers have started making their own — with a pop-up production line and seamstresses churning them out on sewing machines.In one of the most densely populated cities on earth, face masks have become hot property as people scramble for protection against the new deadly coronavirus.Long queues — sometimes thousands strong — routinely crop up outside pharmacies when supplies are in, and there is anger at the government’s failure to have stockpiled.last_img read more

Battle : Franklin and Marshall coach Robinson’s storied career influenced by UNC great Smith

first_img Comments Published on February 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_iseman Sitting in his room at the Carolina Inn 35 years ago, Glenn Robinson spent hours scribbling down every piece of advice he was given in a conversation he almost couldn’t believe took place. A young coach at the time, he didn’t want to forget anything.The opportunity to spend a night asking Dean Smith questions about coaching may not ever come again.‘I made very few notes while I was sitting there talking to him,’ Robinson said. ‘But I stayed up almost all night writing down everything I said and what I learned during that time.’Whatever Smith said took effect on Robinson, who was only about five years into his own head coaching career at Franklin and Marshall College. Thirty-five years later, the advice ingrained in his mind, Robinson sits as the career wins leader in Division III with an 804-301 record. Robinson is one of the most successful coaches in NCAA basketball history, and when he thinks about how he got to this point, that conversation plays a pivotal part.Those two hours Robinson spent with Smith taught him more about coaching than he learned in his life up until that point. They sat on the floor of the hotel, Robinson asking questions he knew were general and far beneath the level of Smith’s knowledge. But with every one of those easy, general questions came a response only a coaching legend could come up with.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘I really wasn’t smart enough to ask a better question the right way,’ Robinson said. ‘But I was smart enough to realize what was happening. That he was answering these questions like three and four levels beyond what I asked. And it was just unbelievable.’Robinson soaked in the information and picked Smith’s brain as best he could. At one point, Robinson asked how many players he should keep on a team. The obvious answer was 15 because that’s how many scholarships teams offered at the time. Instead, Smith told him any beyond eight better be great kids who would hustle in practice knowing they wouldn’t get much playing time.The conversation capped off a four-day trip to North Carolina, where Robinson watched Smith coach the Tar Heels during practices. But speaking to him one-on-one without interruptions was where Robinson learned the most. Robinson took those notes that listed as much of the advice as he could remember and added it to his own career.‘I’ve done it for the past 35 years, so I don’t think I need to consciously think of it,’ Robinson said. ‘Whenever anybody asks me about it, I remember it vividly.’He might not have to think about it, but it’s as much a part of his success as the games and players themselves. And when it comes to the players, they know they have to give Robinson everything they have because it’s what he demands. In a lot of ways, it’s been a challenge for the Diplomat teams he’s coached since 1971.Junior guard Georgio Milligan said it’s not always the easiest thing to play for Robinson because it’s a struggle to meet his expectations. Those demands separate the players who see playing time and the ones who sit on the bench.‘If you’re not performing to what you’re capable of, you’re not going to play,’ Milligan said. ‘All the yelling and the criticism, it’s constructive. So if you don’t take it and get the gist of what he’s saying besides the yelling, it’s pretty easy to fall to the sideline and not even want to play anymore.’Robinson’s lifestyle, though, doesn’t match his coaching style. The man who screams at his players in practice lives in a farmhouse down a small road about 30 minutes outside Lancaster, Pa.When he brought the Diplomats to his house after the season a couple of years ago, forward James McNally couldn’t believe what his coach calls home. Seeing Robinson, one of the most well-known people in the area, living on a farm in what felt like the middle of nowhere was far from what he expected.‘I think that was the funniest moment. … Coach lives like a half an hour away in a lot of wide-open land,’ McNally said. ‘I wasn’t expecting that way out there.’On the court during practice, there’s nothing laid-back about Robinson. Like Smith, Robinson knows every player has to earn game time. So every player on Robinson’s teams, especially beyond the eighth, has to maximize his potential. It’s that advice that Smith gave him manifesting itself in Robinson-run practices.It’s worked for 40 years. But when Robinson thinks back over all those winning seasons, those two hours with Smith is what stand out. With every win, that conversation becomes more meaningful.Robinson knows exactly how much Smith’s words led to what transpired in the ensuing 35 years.‘I remember at the time, while I appreciated it,’ Robinson said, ‘I didn’t appreciate it to the magnitude to which I do now.’[email protected]center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more