Covid-19 and the Internet

During this time of widespread closures and slower pace of life, we are allowed, even forced, to watch how differently individuals and governments respond to the time’s uncertainties.

The email request for face masks sent me scurrying to the sewing room. Cheryl Splawn of El Dorado Connections said that local clinics and nursing homes had asked for volunteers to make face masks. I had already sewn a few requested by family members. I could sew a few more. I joined the Facebook page “Sew You Care” with hundreds of others focusing on one thing: face masks. The Facebook page coordinates people sewing with requests for masks, discussions about supplies and the number completed by individuals. Can you believe one woman has completed 1,000 masks?! I cannot begin to try to match that number.

Quickly the supply of quarter-inch elastic disappeared from stores as completely as did toilet paper. Since each mask only requires a small piece of fabric, most seamstresses began sewing with their fabric stash. Quarter inch elastic, however, is quite another issue. My cousin in Pennsylvania called and asked if I had any. Friends called and asked. I shared what I could. Then Debbie Langford called to say she had cut t-shirt material into stretchy strings for masks and made ties using bias tape. That same solution flooded Facebook sewing sites.

Through this time of social isolation, of mandates to stay at home in order to reduce the possibility of expanding the problem, Facebook and other social media have kept us informed and connected. Locally, “COVID-19 Support for Union County” along with “Plastic Sign Suppliers” keep us informed of businesses still open with curb service. Plastic Sign suppliers presents community blasts of businesses needing a boost in southern Arkansas region.

COVID-19 Support for Union County Facebook page carries local updates on the virus and more. If you have a yen for a restaurant meal, the page has menus and hours for curbside service. Need services for the elderly? Check their list of contact information. Even though I do not consider that I qualify, my children and the retirement check says I should study their list of senior hours for grocery shopping.

I assume businesses are closed. Not necessarily. Check the Facebook pages or ads in the El Dorado News-Times. Plenty of shops still provide services.

Other Facebook pages even answer my question, “How did this all work during the 1918 flu epidemic with no Internet, no television news updates, radio still in its infancy and phones not yet a household necessity.” Yet, they managed.

Here in the 21st century, social media allows me to talk online with my family as a group, thanks to Zoom. I watched choir members sing individually as a group from their homes. Marco Polo recorded video updates with my St. Louis and Little Rock families.

Messages, texts, and phone calls have kept me up to date with family. Technology is not without its drawbacks, though. The conversion to online education has challenged many mothers and fathers. Through Facebook I have caught a hint of the frustration with the increased demand on the technology.

I enjoy the updates from my families. I roll my eyes when misinformation floods the Internet with the day’s spin on the causes, cures, crises and conspiracies of the Covid-19 pandemic. As much as social media helps, the full picture will only be told through the eyes of history. Only time will tell if school closings, graduations canceled, businesses failing and staying home was the solution. I comply, and while I wait for the “all clear,” I pick up fabric and return to my sewing.