Oscar Valera, a high school teacher uses 3d printers as a hobby and build a variety of crafts. During this pandemic, he is using this hobby to fight against the coronavirus by forming the face shields.
He has printed and distributed nearly 200 face shields in just four days to all the medical professionals throughout the country. These face shields are used by doctors, nurses or the other healthcare workers who have a chance of getting the infection.
As the number of infected people increases day by day so the demand for the N-95 masks, face shield, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) also increases rapidly. More than 238,800 confirmed cases reported in the U.S this Thursday.
This terrible situation encourages the volunteers to support the medical professionals in several ways such as Valera, a 3D printer, who build face shields to protect the doctors, nurses and other first responders to the patients who are at the great risk of getting infections through contact.
These face masks save the doctors and other medical staff who work at the frontline from the virus-containing droplets that are released in the air through sneezing, coughing and close contact.
A community workspace nonprofit Maker Nexus in Sunnyvale, California running its three-laser cutting and 13 3D printers. More than 1800 masks are produced for all the local hospitals and it further has received requests for more 13000 masks.
Around 300 people worked as volunteers and helped scour the internet for raw materials to build the face shields. Also, these people go to the hospitals, where the PPEs are required, for printing the visors for making the shields, according to General manger Eric Hess.
He further said that people are working from home through the internet in a calm and peaceful environment and therefore putting their efforts in the need of the hour. The company of Hess uses the open-source Prusa 3D printed shield design form the Czech Republic.
Around 500 face shields have sent to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC). Here it is estimated that 15 PPE sets are used by nurses over three shifts for only one patient.
Dr. Sanjay Kurani who is the medical director at SCVMC said that in the Bay Area the cases of coronavirus are increasing, and doctors realized that hospitals have not enough equipment to cope up with the surging number of patients.
Many other companies also producing face shields and playing their roles in this critical situation such as Snap Lab.
Valera further said that he will continue his work and put more effort into helping the people in his terrible situation.
Personal protective equipment is compulsory for the doctors and health care workers who are screening, testing and treating the infected people. But many countries have not enough PPE because of delayed policymaking and slow purchasing processes.
PPE includes goggles, masks and face shields. Doctors and manufacturers have highlighted the declining issue of PPE supplies. According to WHO, every month the world needs almost 89mn masks and 76 mn gloves for fighting against coronavirus
Some wholesale distributors have increased the prices of masks to $5 from 97 cents per piece. The prices of these things that are used as PPE are rising fast.
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In the U.S the shortage of PPE is forcing the health care systems to use creative strategies given by CDC for conserving and improvising the alternatives to respirators, face masks, gowns, and eye protection.
Many health care systems reached a rolling point that compels them to create or reuse their protective equipment. Although CDC does not recognize alternatives like lab coats or bandanas as true PPE, many organizations are using them as a last option.
CDC gave guidelines for reusing the PPE or for the home-made PPE. CDC recommends not to use respirators for more than five times because some health care systems are giving the instructions of using the masks or other PPE for more than five times to conserve supplies.
As a last option, some health care systems are producing their own PPE from the household raw materials. These home-made PPEs are not as efficient as surgical masks but a study by the University of Cambridge proves that homemade masks that are made from T-shirts approximately block 50 percent of 0.02-1-micron microorganisms while the surgical masks block the 80 percent of the particles.
Recently, CDC has stopped all healthcare providers to use homemade PPE. If they want to use it then they must take some additional precautionary measures along with face shields.