Put a drop of water on a piece of cotton and lift up the material. It will be wet on the underside. Put a drop of water on plastic wrap, however, and lift that up. The underside will be dry. Cloth masks can give us a false sense of security. Liquids can pass right through them. They provide very little protection against fluids and must be washed constantly.
The purpose behind personal protective equipment is to provide a barrier to the intrusion of bacteria and viruses. The more impermeable the barrier, the better. My friends, mostly nurses, have discussed several ideas for creating physical barriers. Wrap your finger with plastic wrap before using touch screens. Afterward, remove the wrap carefully and sanitize your hands. If you must wear a cloth mask or bandana, place a piece of plastic wrap or a plastic page protector over the front of it and let the plastic hang down to cover your nose and mouth. Secure the top of the plastic to the mask with paper clips (the plastic should be discarded after use and the paper clips should be sanitized). One nurse mentioned using an upside-down dog cone with the neck opening on top of your head and with page protectors taped to the larger opening at the bottom to cover the rest of your face (this could be used over a cloth mask). This might work to block fluids and create a particularly chic-looking hat. Again, the tape should be discarded after use and the page protector and collar sanitized.
Eye covering is also very important, and eyeglasses, swim goggles or safety glasses should be worn to prevent aerosolized particles and droplets from getting into the mucous membranes of your eyes. When no disposable gloves are available, kitchen gloves will do. Gloves should be sprayed or sanitized after each use. These ideas are only the tip of the iceberg. Come up with your own ideas to create barriers when no gloves, masks or gowns are available. Remember to wash your hands frequently.
No one cares what you look like. After all, this is California! Our lives depend on your creative efforts and the care you take to protect others and yourself. We are all in this together. Be well, and be safe.