Healthcare workers are reusing the very few face masks they have left — and they're begging the government to give them the protective equipment they desperately need
Xinhua/Ren Chao/Getty Images
- The US is experiencing a shortage of N95 masks that protect against airborne illness.
- In California, hospitals have turned to seamstresses, while in New York doctors have resorted to reusing masks to meet the shortage.
- It is not clear if N95 masks are safe to be used more than once, or for an extended period of time. They are designed to be worn once.
- Healthcare workers took to social media last week under the hashtag #GetMePPE, tagging congressmen and the vice president with pleas about getting the "personal protective equipment" they need.
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Charnai Prefontaine, an ICU nurse in Illinois, told Business Insider that she has had to use the same mask for a 12-hour shift, and sometimes, for several days to cope with the lack of extras. She's had to place one mask in a bag and label it with her name and date of use.Charnai Prefontaine
Dr. Green, an emergency physician, has had to use the same PPE (captured in the photo below) for three days. PPE, or personal protective equipment, is gear that workers wear to protect themselves from trauma and infection.Dr. Green
Gayatri Joshi, a trauma radiologist in Atlanta, told Business Insider that she and her colleagues have been saving masks for healthcare workers at greater risk of airborne contamination — those giving oral exams, or conducting intubation and suctioning.Gayatri Joshi
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