With the coronavirus spreading as fast as it did, and so many affected people needing care, medical supplies have quickly run out. As hospitals struggle to get medical supplies, engineers, scientists, fashion designers, and many others are working to make both materials in the quantities demanded by the pandemic.

In Italy, a hospital was in desperate need of respirator valves and a startup 3D printing company stepped up to save lives. The shortage of medical gear is even more urgent than the shortage of toilet paper in the world. Healthcare responders need appropriate gear if they are fighting on the frontlines to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19.


Similar to the startup company in Italy, companies in the U.S. are stepping up to save lives. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is committing to creating 1 million face masks a month for coronavirus responders. The face masks will be donated to EMTs, police officers, firefighters, other first responders, health care clinics, and hospitals in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, according to Motor1.

Gui Cavalcanti, an engineer, and entrepreneur started a Facebook group to create an open-source design for a ventilator that any manufacturer could use to start producing devices. Cavalcanti said that health care workers at the front line of the virus are in need of protection. He told Live Science, “They said, ‘Forget the ventilators. If we run out of ICU physicians, it doesn’t matter how many ventilators in the world there are, because if you can’t shove a tube down someone’s throat without killing them, they’re not going to survive anyway.”

Fashion designers Christian Siriano, Brandon Maxwell and Prada are also doing the same. After Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted that with over 16,000, New York will buy medical gear such as masks, gowns, and gloves from any creatives who can create them and supply them, companies decided to step to the plate.


Siriano responded: “If we need masks my team can make them! I have sewers and pattern makers ready to help working from home,” and shared a photo of prototypes.

Designer Brandon Maxwell also wrote on Instagram: “In response to this global crisis, we are now focusing our creative efforts on manufacturing PPE (personal protective equipment), starting with gowns. We have spent the last week researching the appropriate medical textiles to create these gowns and are proud to provide these much needed items to the doctors and nurses on the front lines of this crisis.”

Prada will also be making 110,000 masks and 80,000 overalls by April 6th for the Tuscany area of Italy. Designer Michael Costello spent 24 hours creating prototypes and said that any he creates will be donated, not sold to responders. He challenged other designers to do the same and they’ve been stepping up to the plate.

It’s wonderful to see people coming together in such difficult times. We need to help and give to those who are giving to us too. Healthcare workers need protection too and if this is how we can help them, this is what needs to be done.

Read more about protecting yourself from coronavirus. Check the CDC website for more information on how to protect yourself and check our latest article to learn how COVID-19 differs from the flu.

Scientists believe that the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, started at an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China. You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.


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