120k masks ordered through our project. 63k already delivered, remaining in transit! PLEASE DONATE IF YOU CAN!
In March, the US Department of Health and Human Services estimated that hospitals across the country would need about 6 billion N95 masks throughout the year to combat COVID-19 and that the US had about 1% of that amount. Since then, hospitals have cited PPE shortages as one of their top concerns . The shortage has gotten so bad that the CDC has recommended the use of bandannas and scarves as make-shift PPEs, which are not as effective, putting frontline workers in immediate peril .
Our friend, a doctor in the San Francisco Bay Area, began seeing COVID-19 cases at his hospital in March and has had to live separately from his family because of his daily exposure to patients. When he described the conditions there, it inspired us to act quickly:
"We get issued 1 K95 mask per day and keep it in a brown paper bag on our persons. All staff have been issued 1 surgical mask per day, that they have to keep on at all times and make sure they do not cross-contaminate things when they need to eat or drink during the day. I'm fairly certain that these unsafe practices will lead to many more healthcare workers with COVID infections including taking some of them out of service, and even jeopardizing their lives."
We are students from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, but also concerned fellow Americans determined to help out. We are procuring masks and other protective equipment to support hospitals and medical workers who are in dire need so that they can continue to fight COVID-19 on our behalf in the communities and neighborhoods they serve. Our team includes members from the medical community and collective experience in supply chain, operations, consulting, and project management. We also have team members with no direct experience and are simply inspired to do good.
100% of your generous donations will be used to procure PPEs and to ship them to hospitals across the country where they are needed most! Like us, many of you may not be able to help treat patients, but your donations will make a direct difference in the lives of nurses, doctors, and other medical workers.
Our friends working on the frontlines
Alex is a Medical Director and Chief of Radiology at Sutter Health working with multiple hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area. By March, he had to personally gather masks from friends and family to take to hospitals. Because the shortage was so bad, he loaded up his car with donations and was willing to take all sorts of masks that were better than none.
Pete is a Chair of Surgery at Grace Medical Center in Baltimore. Because of the shortage of PPEs, Pete has had to resort to make-shift ways of making face masks to keep from being infected. These are not as effective measures and he is in danger of contracting COVID-19 everyday.
Jim is a Medical Director of the Lung Transplant Program at the University of Pennsylvania and a fellow dog lover. He has worked tirelessly in helping us ship and deliver PPEs from his home in Philadelphia to hospitals around the east coast.
Francesca and her mother are both nurses in Los Angeles. Francesca is a critical care nurse and took a picture of PPE stock at her hospital. N95 masks are out of stock while the cases of COVID-19 patients are increasing exponentially.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1) I see a lot of articles about how KN95 masks are already being shipped. Why do you still need help?
The growth in COVID-19 cases and growth in death toll is exponential while the supply of PPEs is not. The first 100,000 COVID-19 cases took 67 days, the next 100,000 cases took 11 days, the next 100,000 cases took 4 days. Most major cities in the US are currently doubling cases every 2-5 days.
Meanwhile, new PPE manufacturing and shipping will take from weeks to a month to ramp up. 3M will make about 50 million masks a month, still well short of 300 million and requiring time to get to full capacity. Tech giants have committed about 9 million masks though it is still unclear when all of those will be shipped. NY Presbyterian, just one of the 200 hospitals in New York, could run through 9 million masks in 6 months.
In addition, the hospital procurement process takes a lot of time to conduct quality checks and to protect themselves from liability issues. This is understandable in normal times, but not timely when doctors and nurses are having to make or bring in their own masks because of the shortage.
While we're really pleased to hear about the stories of companies and agencies working furiously to supply PPEs, our mission is to bridge the gaps that still exist today until those large volumes of masks actually arrive at hospitals and manufacturing is cranked up.
2) Why not just donate the masks directly to the government or other agencies?
At the federal level, limited supply is being allocated from FEMA. However, allocations are not happening in enough time or quantities to meet the exponentially growing demand. FEMA is under resourced in both staffing and supply. The federal government is instructing local and state governments to procure supplies themselves to take the burden off the federal government, and to ask for donations of supply. In many cases, we hear of hospitals that are simply overwhelmed.
3) How are you getting and distributing these PPEs to hospitals?
We have classmates working tirelessly through researching options and tapping into personal networks across the country and globally to find suppliers that can provide and ship PPEs. Through our classmates' connections in China, we have found reliable suppliers that manufacture KN95 masks and other types of PPEs and can ship them to the US.
In the US, we have several networks across the country including doctors, nurses, and other friends that are volunteering their time to identify needs and in some cases, helping to deliver PPEs directly to local hospitals around the country.
4) How can you be sure that the supplies you procure meet safety standards?
We are sourcing KN95 masks (as well as other types of PPEs such as surgical masks). KN95 masks are nearly identical to N95 masks and are now FDA approved for usage in US hospitals and are also widely accepted at hospitals in COVID-19 hotspots. In any case, they are superior to the bandanas, scarves, and other make-shift gear healthcare workers are beginning to use.
5) Why donate to this campaign? There's a lot out there already.
We have delivered over 60,000 KN95 masks in a few weeks to over 30 different hospitals in over 10 different states. We have ongoing shipments of upwards of 10,000 masks each week from our suppliers, though we need more funding to keep this going in the short term. We also have a network of doctors and nurses who are friends, relatives, classmates or former students that have directly advised us on needs, location, and technical information on supplies.
We encourage you to donate to other campaigns as well since we do not believe this is a competition.
However, our mission is personal to us and we are committed to being as efficient and effective as possible. We truly appreciate your support.
6) If I have extra supplies, how can I donate them?
Please contact one of our team members if you would like to arrange a donation. Our team is based primarily in the SF Bay Area, but we also have teammates at cities across the nation.
Here is a list of hospitals accepting supplies:
7) Are donations tax-deductible?
We are not currently a 501(c)3 organization. However, should things change, we will let you know as soon as possible. Donations made to a GoFundMe Personal campaign are generally considered to be personal gifts and are not guaranteed to be tax-deductible. You can always check with a tax professional to be sure.