While we are all under strict social distancing/stay at home orders/quarantine, many people are looking for ways to help the brave people who are risking their own health in order to make sure people who have contracted COVID-19 are able to recover. Many of us have people in our lives who are essential workers such as nurses, doctors, or other people in other medical professions.
Since the beginning of this outbreak, people have been buying materials in bulk that these medical professionals need in order to do their jobs safely. According to the New York Times, early in April, a man was arrested for hoarding “192,000 N95 respirators, 130,000 surgical masks, and nearly 600,000 medical grade gloves.” The man was arrested for lying to federal agents about selling the supplies back to hospitals with a 700% mark up.
Even though those supplies are being distributed to hospitals in New York and New Jersey, many hospitals don’t have enough supplies and have begun taking donations of cloth masks. According to the Hennepin Healthcare page, they are taking donations of cloth masks for staff who do not need medical-grade protective equipment. They, like many other organizations, have provided a pattern to make the masks and designated drop off times.
Hospitals are also accepting donations of unused medical supplies as suppliers are not able to produce as much as all the hospitals need. Finding these products also becomes difficult when people are panic buying supplies in much larger quantities than they could possibly use. If possible, please consider spending some of your time while social distancing making these masks for our health care workers who are putting themselves in danger to help others.