Impacts From Coronavirus Pandemic: Handmade Medical Masks, Coping Grandfamilies


On this West Virginia Morning, a global mask shortage is putting healthcare workers on the front lines at risk. Some West Virginians are taking matters into their own hands. We also learn how grandparents are coping with the coronavirus.

Across the country, medical professionals fighting the coronavirus pandemic are struggling to find protective gear – things as basic as goggles, gloves and masks.

Some groups in West Virginia are taking matters into their own hands – something familiar to this region – and are making handmade face masks. Folkways reporter Caitlin Tan has the story.

The Centers for Disease-Control and Prevention warns that older adults and people with underlying chronic health conditions are at increased risk for serious illness from the coronavirus. West Virginia has the highest percentage of at-risk adults of any state in the country.

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin offered advice on social media. He wrote families shouldn’t visit vulnerable grandparents at this time, something he acknowledged would be difficult for West Virginians. But what happens when grandparents are the parents? Social distancing becomes impossible for thousands of children who rely on their grandparents every day. Emily Corio reports on how “grandfamilies” are dealing with the new threat of coronavirus.

Here at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, we are asking our listeners and viewers to reach out to us and share stories of hope, inspiration and resilience in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

In Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, we heard last week from Karl Johnson. He and his wife started a local initiative they’re calling “Hot Meals for WV Heroes.” They’ve been providing hot meals to frontline health care workers. Karl emailed us a voice memo, and they have a Facebook page with the same name if you want to check them out.

If you have a story of hope or resilience in the face of COVID-19, please share your story with us. You can email a voice memo to OR you can leave a voicemail on our tip line at 1-800-633-4560. And thank you!

West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting which is solely responsible for its content.

Support for our news bureaus comes from West Virginia University, Concord University, and Shepherd University.