By Theodore Shoebat
I’ve noticed Trump fans online are latching on to Trump suggesting that some transgression is happening because hundreds of thousands of masks have been being produced for individual New York City hospitals. Trump implied that something “worse than hoarding” was happening. The reason why the numbers of masks went up from 10 to 20,000 a week for a hospital, to two to three hundred thousand is because hospital staff need to get a new mask after any time they were dealing with a coronavirus patient. Masks aren’t being made in mass production because they are “going out the back door” (to use Trump’s own words). Why would it be surprising that the numbers of masks being delivered have gone up so high in the middle of a pandemic? How is that a shocker, when health care workers across the country are demanding for more personal protective equipment (PPE) to handle this crises? Even Fanatics — a major manufacturer of official uniforms for Major League Baseball — has said that they are going to be making PPE for health workers. Why is it a surprise that a hospital needs hundreds of thousands of masks for a week when a baseball uniform factory is now making masks?
Because of the shortages of masks, medical staff have had to reuse the same masks by sanitizing them, hence why there is such a huge demand for masks. Kenneth Raske, president of Greater New York Hospital Association, responded to Trump’s implication: “New York’s health care workers are treating exploding numbers of COVID-19 patients around the clock —willingly and without complaint. … The only thing they ask for in return is adequate amounts of personal protective equipment. PPE is the single thing that separates them from being COVID-19 patients themselves.” Kevin Lu, a graduating medical student in Michigan, also explained:
Anecdotally, I’ve known countless [health care workers] who knew they were inadequately protected but bravely have chosen to continue doing their jobs because they are needed. We are naked soldiers walking into a battlefield. … When all workers became high risk of COVID interaction, some places moved to you to get one mask permanently and it’s your job not to lose it. Now for some places it’s either you experiment with wash and reuse or you have no masks at all.
Lu detailed on how medics went from having one set of PPE per patient to moving to one mask per worker per shift. “Then we moved to only workers at high risk of COVID interaction get masks,” Lu told Newsweek. Lisa Miller, a physician and anesthesiologist in Seattle, Washington, one of hardest hit areas by the coronavirus outbreak, tweeted: “Trump has now accused healthcare workers of stealing our own masks and PPE, hence the shortage. Yes, Mr. Trump, we are rewearing masks that are only meant to be worn once because we want to make you look bad.”
Barry Schapiro, an orthopedic surgeon in Parkland, Florida, made an important point:
“Imagine… working gruelling hours, risking everything, treating the sickest patients you’ve seen in your entire career, coming home and quarantining in the guest room isolated from your family for the foreseeable future…and then the president accuses you of being a thief.
“When a hospital goes from a typical number of patients under respiratory isolation to every ICU bed and entire units in respiratory isolation, it’s easy to imagine an increased need of 10-50x. Not understanding is one thing. Accusing us of lying and stealing is quite another.”
Covid-19 patients are extremely contagious, and the virus spreads through aerosolized water droplets in a patient’s breath. The CDC and other health experts say that for every single interaction with a suspected coronavirus patient, medical personal should throw out their masks and PPE and wear a new mask and other PPE. Normally, not all emergency room or intensive care patients would require such a constant change of equipment. When you put this reality in perspective, its easy to see why a hospital would need so many masks.