What I Have Learned About Face Mask Protection Against COVID-19

After much experimentation, I have found that face masks can be improved and provide better protection from the coronavirus. It’s common to see medical professionals wearing surgical masks; surgical masks have high filtration properties against the coronavirus but suffer from a loose fit around the edges, especially the nose. The surgical mask can be greatly improved by supplementing it with a brace that will attempt to better seal the edges. Former Apple mechanical engineers created such a brace that you can buy at  https://www.fixthemask.com/. Here is a good video on how to wear this brace: https://twitter.com/i/status/1292209855487332353 See picture below:

Fix The Mask also provides a Do it Yourself brace using rubber bands, which inspired my own DIY brace that uses two 7 inch long rubber bands. To make this yourself, take one rubber band, cut it, and tie it to the other rubber band on two sides. The cut rubber band serves as a head band and the uncut part fits around your face mask. See pictures below:

Do It Yourself Rubberband Face Mask Brace

If you achieve a good fit, you should be breathing through the mask instead of around the edges of the mask. See video below:

The best masks are N95 masks, with priority use by healthcare workers. There is one brand that is freely available to the public made by Chinese producer Guangzhou Harley (NiOSH tested), sold by www.easternppeimports.com/. You can also buy NPPTL tested KN95 masks by Guangzhou Powecom on Amazon. As an additional option, I recommend the HaloLife mask, which has an insertable 99% filter, rubber and wire nose band, and provides a great fit along with breathability. This mask has proved effective at capturing over 99% of airborne particulates and pathogens down to 0.1 microns. By comparison, the COVID-19 virus measures approximately 0.125 microns in diameter.

This list of masks is far from exhaustive, as there are also many cloth masks out there. The Canadian government has published a good guide to choosing among the cloth masks: Canadian Guide on Masks. They recommend a tightly woven, 3 ply mask where one of the layers includes an insertable, non-woven, polypropylene fabric filter. Consumers should be aware that many cloth masks provide a PM2.5 carbon filter; although good for filtering pollution (at as small at 2.5 microns), this PM2.5 filter does not provide adequate filtration against COVID-19 particles (which are smaller than 2.5 microns). You can buy non-woven polypropylene fabric filters at Etsy to insert in your mask instead the PM2.5 filter. Many companies today are selling many washable filtered masks with non-woven polpropylene fabric filters, such as the Everbrand Mask :https://everbrand.us/products/the-viraloff-mask-v2.

Once you have selected a mask, make sure to adjust and improve the fit. The mask should include a wire guide to fit around your nose and you can supplement with a brace as shown above. You can also add a nose bridge pad seal to prevent fogging and leakage, available at Amazon Bridge Pads.  For KN95 masks, I have also taken a 7 inch rubber band, cut it, and stapled it on to the two sides of the mask near the ear-loops to create a headband for a tighter fit. For an improved fit around the nose, you can attach an additional metal nose bridge strip (click here) on top of the one sewn into the mask (top center on the mask). I recommend putting a small strip of adhesive tape over the metal.

Good ways to test your mask include the following:

  • Better masks can hold water on the inside without dripping through.
  • If you hold the mask up to the light, you should not be able to see small holes through it.
  • You should not be able to blow out a candle while wearing your mask.
  • You should be able to spray air fragrance mist into the air and not smell it while wearing your mask.
  • Your glasses should not fog nor should you feel any air outside the mask.

With good filtration and fit, you can protect others against the virus while protecting yourself. Remember – a mask is to be used in conjunction with social distancing, not as a substitute.

Venture Capital Funding–a Glass Half Full

The good news is that unlike 2001 and 2009–venture capital funding did not come to a screeching halt. Instead, venture capital funding is just down 10 to 20% off its peak. The world is awash in liquidity. Technology is the future. Some companies will fail; others will be acquired; and new disrupters will appear.

Source: North America Q2 Venture Report: Funding Down As Expected – Crunchbase News

PMI: Properties Motivating Innovation: Tenant Quantgene Aims to Bring 12-Hour COVID-19 Testing to the Mass Market



Quantgene, a tenant at our Santa Monica Digital Bungalow Property, typically offers AI-powered blood test systems to consumers and healthcare providers to provide early detection for up to eight types of cancer. But as the COVID-19 pandemic has persisted, Quantgenei has pivoted its focus to helping individuals identify if they have coronavirus. Quantgene launched 12-hour coronavirus testing last week and, since then, has already signed about 10 companies up to test their employees daily, weekly, as often as necessary, to stop another viral outbreak before it starts.

Source: Quantgene Aims to Bring 12-Hour COVID-19 Testing to the Mass Market | Built In Los Angeles

It’s Not All Bad: Urban Problems of Housing Costs and Congestion Will Be Improved, and Productivity Could Explode

We are now forced to learn how to use technology, and we will be more productive. To do many tasks and forms of work–we do not have to be physically present at a particular location. Workers and consumers will be able to do more things and do them faster through video conferencing and digitization. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt on Face the Nation explains: “One way to think about this is that this one month, two months period has brought forth 10 years of forward change. So all of a sudden, the Internet is no longer optional. It’s fundamental to doing business, to operate, to live our lives, all sorts of much higher expectations as a result…” For example, students are learning how to learn through Zoom classes versus attending classes. More students can have access to great universities or professor in less time and for less cost.

Housing Costs: Workers will now be able to live in different cities and far out suburbs and still work for companies based in super cities. Eric Schmidt said recently on Face the Nation: . “we’ve had this situation where people move to super cities in these incredibly concentrated ways. That will change in the next few years. You don’t need to be in the super city in order to participate in the ex- excitement of these super cities.” This counter-trend will drive down rents and housing prices in super-cities or otherwise retard their rate of increase. Agglomerations economies requiring physical presence will be diminished.

Congestion: Workers will have more flexible hours or work schedules. On some days–workers will work from home. Some workers will work from home most of the time or in remote locations or other cities and not drive into work. More people will shop on line and not need to travel to the store. More doctor appointments will be done remotely. “80 percent of the visits to doctors are right now in tele-health. People have been wanting this to happen for years. Now using remote monitoring, we can actually measure everybody and do it remotely. And then only if you have to, you go in to see the doctor”– says Eric Schmidt. Thus, there will be less cars on the road.

Productivity: we have been forced to use technology to become more efficient and do more things digitally from signing documents to using digital project management tools. Instead of spending two days attending an out of town meeting–a person can spend 2 hours in a video conference. We will be able to do more work more effectively in less time as a result of this digital transformation.

LA City Council Voted to Freeze Los Angeles Rents For Over One year

The City Council voted to freeze rents for 12 months and to prohibit eviction until after the Mayor’s emergency order is terminated.  However, the Mayor can open up almost all activity without technically terminating the order.  There is a proposal to limit rents to 60% of the CPI and a State referendum to eliminate vacancy decontrol.    There are a group of political activists who are using the pandemic to deprive owners of all benefits of their ownership.  Property owners must start to become engaged and united as a wave of tenant legislation sweeps the State. If you cannot raise rents on any units (even vacant units) but need to pay rising expenses–WHO REALLY OWNS YOUR PROPERTY.   Contact the California Apartment Association to become engaged in saving your property.   Contact CAA


Lessons From the Walking Dead

The television show Fear of the Walking Dead has some tips for how society should behave in an apocalypse when there are no governments to enforce contracts and life becomes a free for all. In this case, the character Morgan sets up boxes filled with goods throughout the roads with a sign that reads: ” TAKE WHAT YOU NEED.  LEAVE WHAT YOU DON’T.  SEE YOU ON UP THE ROAD.”

Small Business Assistance in the Wake of COVID-19

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, many cities are experiencing lockdowns, business closures, and other economic consequences. Many small businesses are especially affected by these economic difficulties because of the current coronavirus pandemic. However, government and private organizations have acknowledged these difficulties and created disaster assistance programs for small businesses.

We have compiled a list of small business assistance programs in hopes that they will be a resource to small businesses during this trying time.

The Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program will provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Businesses can apply online here. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

The Jewish Free Loan Association is also providing interest free loans to small businesses up to $36,000. Apply here.

Facebook Inc. has recently pledged $100 million in ad credits and cash grants for small businesses that have been impacted by the economic damage caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. More information can be found here.