Inventors have raised millions on crowdfunding sites to build better masks

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Despite a huge amount of focus on creating better PPE, some products don’t live up to the hype. In March, as COVID-19 cases spiked and supplies of N95 protective masks dwindled at the Bay Area hospital where her brother-in-law works, Megan Duong launched a local search for N95s. Along with her sister-in-law, Sabrina Paseman, Duong enlisted volunteers and tracked down 7,000 masks—barely enough to cover the needs of two hospitals for one day. “We just knew that it was not a scalable solution,” Duong said. Read Full Story

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Mask loose? This simple fix can make it fit

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The device fits over your mask to create a tighter seal, better protecting yourself and others. Months into the pandemic, many hospitals are still facing shortages of N95 masks. For the rest of us, the masks that are available—especially the surgical masks that are most effective at preventing the spread of the virus—often don’t quite fit. But a simple new add-on could help correct that. Read Full Story

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The rise of ‘frugal design’—and what it reveals about the future of innovation

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COVID-19 forced doctors around the world to get creative with their supplies. Dr. Msandeni Chiume Kayuni found herself in the middle of a supply crisis as COVID-19 spread to Africa in April 2020. As head of pediatrics at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi, her team faced a critical shortage of N95 and regular surgical face masks. Nurses and doctors were striking. Read Full Story

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This DIY kit turns an Ikea box into a mask decontamination unit for hospitals on the brink

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As hospitals run out of protective gear and are forced to use masks over and over, scientists are looking for ways to make masks safer to reuse. This one would let hospitals make a simple machine to squeeze a longer life out of every mask they have. Hospitals still don’t have enough masks for the nurses and doctors on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis—and in the U.S., at least 5,400 healthcare workers have been infected and at least 40 have died. N95 masks aren’t designed to be reusable , but many hospitals are now faced with no other choice. In New York City, nurses have reported being told to use the same mask for five shifts in a row. Read Full Story

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This filter for the front of an N95 mask could make it reusable

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Scientists came up with an experimental virus-blocking membrane that can be discarded so doctors can use the mask again. As governments around the world struggle to build up a supply of N95 masks for healthcare workers—navigating price gouging, counterfeit respirators, scammers, and fierce competition from other governments—some hospitals are still taking care of COVID-19 patients without adequate supplies, and reusing masks that were designed to be disposable. Read Full Story

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Watch the pro-choice rally outside the Supreme Court as it could decide the future of abortion in America

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If SCOTUS upholds a Louisiana law, it could be a sign a more conservative Supreme Court is willing to overturn other abortion laws. Today the Supreme Court is hearing a case about a Louisiana abortion law that could have ramifications across America. As NPR reports , SCOTUS is hearing arguments in a case to decide whether an abortion access law in Louisiana can go forwards. That law mandates that any doctor performing an abortion in the state can only do so if they have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. “Admitting privileges” is when a doctor has an agreement with a hospital to be able to send and treat their patients there. Read Full Story

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I’m an emergency medicine doctor: Here’s how we’re using ultrasound in innovative ways to combat COVID-19

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I work at one of Philadelphia’s biggest hospitals, where we’re starting to see a surge in COVID-19 cases, and we’ve been able to adapt this common technology to more quickly diagnose coronavirus than using other techniques. Tall and thin, wearing blue jeans, the patient walked past me in the emergency department. Wearing a surgical mask, he walked behind the triage nurse following her to the patient room and got hooked up to the heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen monitor. When I entered, rolling a cart with an ultrasound machine the size of a laptop, I heard the fast beeping accompanying the rate of his heartbeat. I was wearing the uniform that’s become standard in the last two months: the awkward set of equipment and garments that people have come to know as PPE (personal protective equipment). Bouffant hat, light-blue plastic gown wrapped and tied at the waist, oversized goggles, …

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4 unintended consequences of wearing masks—and how to fix them

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Wash those hands! If healthcare workers wear surgical masks, there is good evidence that it limits the spread of respiratory viral infections in hospitals. But there is no clear evidence that surgical masks protect members of the public from getting or passing on these sorts of infections—most likely because of incorrect use. For cloth masks worn by the public, the picture is even murkier . Read Full Story

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These face masks are designed to be washed and reused

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This design prioritizes safety and sustainability. As the coronavirus overwhelms hospitals around the world, medical professionals are suffering from a shortage of the personal protective equipment they need to stay safe. In response, people are trying to develop masks that can be washed and reused in contrast to the common, disposable masks that are now in scarce supply. Read Full Story

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