Connect for COVID19 is collecting donations to purchase used and secondhand smart devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops) that will go into the hands of people that need it most as they fight COVID-19.
Note: If you have been directed to donate on behalf of a city-specific campaign, please select the city as your referrer when donating. Otherwise, please select "Connect for Covid-19" as your referrer, which will ensure your funds go to hospitals most in need, independent of location.
How do we do it?
We are partnering with hospital IT departments in virus hotspots across the country. We get the details of devices needed from the hospitals and source the equipment from device re-sellers as well as institutional donations, using funds from this campaign! To ensure safe practices, the hospitals will process the devices using proper sanitation techniques and installation methods.
Why the idea? Is there a real need?
The idea for Connect for COVID-19 comes from telling conversations with medical students and staff working on the frontlines of hospitals across the country. In addition, members of our team also have personal stories of family members who contracted the virus, where access to a smart device could have made all the difference in connecting with family. Current“no-visitor” policies in hospitals across the US result in patients not having the opportunity to contact loved ones at critical times. Patients who have phones often forget to bring them or leave their chargers behind in a rush; some, including low-income and elderly patients, lack access to smart devices altogether. Nurses have to triage , using their own devices to help patients – and often, there's not enough. Additionally, video calls can serve as a channel for translation for non-English speakers, and also as a measure to increase mental and physical well-being during recovery.
How far will this get us?
Our goal is to purchase 200+ secondhand devices. We know this might sound small, but it can take as little as 15 devices to fully supply an entire hospital!! We are currently aiming to reach hospitals in New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Rhode Island, New Haven, Miami, Chicago, and Los Angeles (+more as we can).
What happens after Covid-19?
Down the road, these devices can have continued use in hospitals to promote connectivity during treatment, particularly for patients who do not own smart devices, or have forgotten to bring them to the hospital. Digital connectivity in healthcare has been a persistent issue, and has been especially illuminated during the recent outbreaks.
How will patients use the devices?
All devices will be pre-installed with Zoom, Whatsapp, Messenger, Gmail, Outlook and other social apps. In addition, each device will have a stand to make sure families can stay by their bedside.
There is a lot of suffering going on right now, and we believe that no one deserves to endure it alone, especially those who are battling COVID-19 firsthand. Donations of any size are truly welcomed - even just sharing this on your social media can make a difference! Thank you in advance.
Testimony from Medical Professionals
“Please know that the products of this work will be appreciated to an indescribable degree. From my clinical experience, it is such an isolating experience not only for COVID+ individuals, but for everyone else facing critical illness or who is already vulnerable & high risk. For example, I just cycled off inpatient oncology … having to have conversations about end-stage and hospice — without loved ones present — was truly heartbreaking for everyone involved. I also trained in Brooklyn for medical school, and most of my classmates are still based in NYC; the stories they have shared are just so horrifyingly sad.”
Audrey Li, Resident Physician in Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School
“Thank you for sharing this! This has been one of the more difficult challenges, as so many of our patients in critical condition, or even dying, are unfortunately alone. iPads, etc. can go a long way here!”
Sumanth Kaja, Emergency Medicine Resident Physician at NYU Langone & Bellevue Hospitals
"I am a palliative care physician and I continue to witness the loneliness and emotional pain that COVID-19 patients and their families are enduring. In addition to the physical suffering that comes with the disease, patients’ inability to see their families is leading to significant emotional suffering. Just imagine having to drop off a loved one at the hospital and not knowing if you will ever see them again. Thankfully for some, they are able to remain connected to friends and family through their smartphones. There is a distinct difference in the resilience and coping ability of a patient who remains connected and a patient who is isolated. Improving these connections is so important in caring for a patient as a whole."
Palliative Care fellow at Penn Medicine
Should I select a local city donation as my referrer?
Donors looking to make a general donation should select "Connect for Covid-19" as their referrer. If directed by a local donation campaign to select a city, you should select that locality as your referrer. City-specific donations will aim to direct the funds to serve hospitals in these specific localities. Selecting this also helps us track your donations. In the case that the needs of a city are already met, we will re-direct the funds to other areas in need. For cities not listed, we are continuing to build our response network, and suggest you donate to "Connect for Covid-19" at this time. These will be distributed to hospitals that are identified as most in need and ready to receive the devices, independent of location. We are actively tracking demand for devices in each of these regions via our hospital partners to make sure supply meets demand.
Who are we?
We are a bunch of concerned 20-somethings watching what's going on in the news, and getting together to try and do something. Some of us have worked in these hospitals or had tragic cases of COVID-19 in our own families, where having a device on-hand in the hospital could have made all the difference. For more information, check out our website https://www.dhcproject.org/covid19 , or reach us at @ [email redacted]
Also stay connected with us on the following platforms:
LinkedIn (Connect for COVID-19)
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- JT Wu
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