This person wishes to remain anonymous so only their initials will be used.
D.C. is based out of New York City in the US. If you’ve been following anything regarding the virus, you will know that New York is not a good place to be right now. In the US, there are 277,475 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (time of writing: April 4, 2020) , and New York State has the highest number of confirmed cases in the whole country. In New York State alone, there are 103,476 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with roughly half of those from the City. There have been 3,218 in the State. “Flushing [in Queens, New York] is one the harder hit areas by COVID-19,” says DC. “Queens Presbyterian currently has about 480 positive cases. Many businesses have had to shutter their doors. Friends and family have had stay indoors in social isolation.”
D.C.’s girlfriend is a doctor at NYPQ Hospital and comes in contact with COVID-19 patients daily. “When she comes home, she immediately dumps all her clothes in the washer and showers,” D.C. reports. “She tells me about the shortage of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) in her hospital. People are using the same N95 masks for days. It’s crazy.” D.C. adds, “Everyday, I worry if she will come back home infected, or if I will be infected. Some of the other doctors have been infected and the virus has not even peaked yet. It’s very stressful.” Another hospital that’s been deemed “the epicenter of the epicenter” of the outbreak in the US is Elmhurst Hospital, is also in Queens county.
Inspired to help with this shortage, D.C. is using his 3D printers to print modified Prusa Face Shields to donate to healthcare professionals who are combating the virus on the front-lines. Prusa Research is a 3D printer company based in Prague. In fact, Prusa is the largest 3D printing factory in the world. Joseph Prusa, head of the company, has started using part of his factory to start producing medical face shields. “The company has taken an existing shield design, tweaked it for easier printing and to get more printed per build plate, and then sought the approval of the Czech Ministry of Health before going public” (Electronics Weekly). Prusa Research has made the print files for these face shields available for download, for free, on their website. and D.C. is using those files on his own 3D printers.
“Every little bit helps,” says D.C. “They are made with elastic bands, and clear presentation covers that have been hole-punched to fit the headbands.” And how many does D.C. plan to make? About 30 to each hospital every day.
“This is Shrodinger’s Corona,” says D.C. “We have to assume every surface or person is contaminated and take proper precautions.” The CDC and other healthcare professionals have posted several guidelines to preventing the spread of COVID-19, and one of the main ones was washing one’s hands. Another is social distancing. “People are not washing their hands enough. People are also not properly social distancing. I see a lot of old people on the streets going for walks,” observes D.C.
In addition to the problematic behaviors of people who are not adhering to guidelines put forth to slow the spread of the virus, there’s been a spike in hate crimes towards the Asian-American community. “The virus does not look at a person’s face or identity before it infects someone,” states D.C. “And Asians are not the ones who exclusively carry it.” In the US, there have been more than 1,000 incidents against Asian-Americans in less than two weeks. Some examples that were documented are a man on a NYC subway train violently demanding an Asian man move away from him, the stabbing of three Chinese-Americans in Texas, and an Asian man being attacked as he was collecting cans for recycling. The FBI has even warned of a potential surge of hate crimes that’s to come.
“The best thing everyone can do is stay home,” D.C. affirms. “Wash your hands, disinfect everything. If you are going out into the community and donating masks or PPE, please disinfect the packaging. Maybe consider donating money to your local hospital, or get involved with 3D printing. Now’s the perfect time.”
Thank you, D.C., for everything you’re doing during this time. Thank you for being selfless and providing a way to help with the PPE shortage. If you are able to 3D print, you can get the instructions for printing these face shields here.
Thumbnail image property of Prusa Research.