Healthcare workers around the country are speaking out about treating patients with the coronavirus, without the protective gear they need to keep themselves safe. Personal protective equipment, dubbed “PPE” is rationed around the country as supplies dwindle nationwide.

Workers are being asked to reuse supplies, a request that would be unthinkable during normal times, as reusing equipment is not safe. A certified nurse anesthetist in Akron, Ohio, told CNN, “I was provided one mask; they said that’s all I’m getting.” To help shortages, the CDC is recommending healthcare workers use homemade masks or scarves to help protect themselves.

As coronavirus cases rise throughout the country, many businesses have pivoted to start making PPE for healthcare workers. By April 2, 75,795 people in New York had tested positive for COVID-19.

These suggestions are not being met with joy by healthcare workers. A New Jersey doctor, Marianne Hamra, told CNN, “It’s unacceptable that we’re sending medical professionals like lambs to the slaughterhouse without giving anything to protect themselves. Bandanas and scarves? C’mon CDC — that’s completely ridiculous.”

A new report from the inspector general from the Health and Human Services department read that hospitals are struggling with providing PPE to staff and are facing shortages in testing. According to the report, the lack of equipment puts healthcare workers at risk of infection. The report surveyed 320 hospitals in 46 states between March 23–27, 2020 and many hospitals reported problems with keeping staff safe during the coronavirus outbreak.

The report said, “Hospitals reported that widespread shortages of PPE put staff and patients at risk. Hospitals reported that heavier use of PPE than normal was contributing to the shortage and that the lack of a robust supply chain was delaying or preventing them from restocking PPE needed to protect staff. Hospitals also expressed uncertainty about availability of PPE from Federal and State sources and noted sharp increases in prices for PPE from some vendors.”

You can help provide PPE for hospital staff by reaching out to your local hospital to see what their needs are. Donate PPE is organizing donations needed by hospitals in multiple states.

Sign this petition to demand PPE for hospital employees!

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.

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