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Government-sanctioned crop tops are the latest tool in the fight against coronavirus. Yes, really

Josh Milton May 11, 2020
The latest tool in the fight against coronavirus? Crop tops

Johnny Depp in a crop top in Nightmare on Elm Street. It remains unknown whether he complied with new Public Health England advice to make a face mask out of it. (Media Home Entertainment/Public Health England)

Have you been eagerly looking for a way to both shield yourself from the coronavirus and look stylish at the same time?

Face masks have become an emblem in the fight against the coronavirus, and the British government announced Monday that people in England should aim to wear face coverings in some shops and public transport.

The LGBT+ community, ever resilient, previously gifted the world with a helpful guide to turning a jockstrap – yes, that underwear gathering dust at the bottom of your drawers – into a non-medical face mask.

Now in returning the favour, the Public Health England, an agency of the Department of Health and Social Care, has blessed us all with a similarly helpful guide on making a matching crop top and face mask combination.

Perfect for that digital Pride event you’re looking forward this summer.

Of course, this is all in jest. But department officials have urged the public to do what they can to improvise face maks, whether it be out of t-shirts or tea towels.

Here’s how to make a homemade crop top and get a coronavirus face mask out of it. 

With medical and N95 masks in dire supply, officials recommended that the public make homemade ones.

Indeed, the department stresses, any face covering is better than nothing. And as the first wave of workers nervously clock-back into work this Wednesday (May 13), the government released a guide to creating your own mask.

A good homemade mask uses a material that is dense enough to capture viral particles, officials say, but breathable enough that you can tolerate it.

Materials by health chiefs that have been recommended range from heavy cotton t-shirts to tightly-woven dish towels. The higher the thread count, the better the protection.

A graphic by the British government on how to make a crop top, wait, sorry, face mask. (Public Health England)
A graphic by the British government on how to make a crop top, wait, sorry, face mask. (Public Health England)

To make a mask, the guide states, the wearer needs to squares of fabric, two pieces of elastic, scissors and some needle and thread. The fabric, they recommend, could be an old-t-shirt.

In other words, you got yourself a state-sanctioned crop top. Armageddon might be upon us, but at least you’ll look cute in a crop top.

A homemade mask should preferably have around two layers of material, cover your nose and have secure straps. Pockets can also be sewn in so the wearer can slide in a jerry-rigged filter.

Paper towels and even coffee filters can all be effective. Some studies have shown that paper towels filter particles down to 0.3 microns.

Some health chiefs have expressed caution at other filter substitutes being used, like air filters and vacuum bags. They can present problems, they note, as they may lead you to inhale harmful microfibers.

More: Coronavirus, crop top, Department of Health and Social Care, face mask, Public Health England, UK

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