A New York high school student was stuck at home, watching the news, after his school was forced to shut down due to the quick spread of the coronavirus. So he decided to put his free time to use and help bring protective gear to medical professionals.
Jerry Orans, a sophomore at Mamaroneck High School and an aspiring robotics engineer, started the #HackThePandemic initiative in his Westchester County town, not far from the city of New Rochelle where the first case of the state's community spread reportedly occurred.
He's using his 3D printer, and encouraging others, to produce personal protective equipment such as face shields. Orans told NBC New York he has recruited friends as well as larger printing farms to join.
One of the things they're making is 3D-printed face shields that will protect healthcare professionals from any droplets while they treat COVID-19 positive patients. The initiative has already produced over 225 of them.
Another PPE that's being printed is intubation boxes, which will protect doctors and nurses while they insert a tube through the mouth of a patient.
"Anybody who has a 3D printer can print this stuff, you don't need to be a robotics expert," Orans said. "It's pretty awesome to be able to hear from both patients, other designers, doctors to say 'you're doing the work that our hospitals and other providers can't be doing."'
Orans says he's in communication with 20 different hospitals and doctor's offices in the area in desperate need of PPE, who have all said they'll take whatever the student has.
One of the hospitals includes Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, which has been called "the epicenter of the epicenter" of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City.
"All the doctors say 'we need as much as we can get," Orans said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave a grim warning on Thursday that the city has less than four days to acquire enough PPE to last hospitals another week.
If millions of additional N95 and surgical masks, along with 400 more ventilators don't come through by April 5, de Blasio says hospitals could lose more people, simply because they lack the fundamental equipment to save them.
If you have a 3D printer or are able to deliver the supplies, visit https://www.hackthepandemic.org/ to see how you can help.