The coronavirus outbreak in Washington state has not yet reached the “peak” that some public health officials anticipate, but already ICU physicians like Mike Holmes are grappling with a dearth of necessary supplies.
Holmes described an “extreme shortage” of the masks that he and his colleagues at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle need to treat COVID-19 patients. “We are now reusing single-use masks over and over and over again,” he said.
It’s a challenge facing healthcare workers across Washington state, who are asking the general public to donate any personal protective equipment (PPE) they have. The state government’s warehouse of personal protective gear is empty. Though Washington is receiving some supplies from the federal stockpile of protective equipment, people on the front lines of the crisis say it is not enough.
But long before Washington became a hotspot for COVID-19, it was an epicenter of innovation, home to Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, and hundreds of tech startups known for creative problem-solving. Many of those innovators are now stepping up to find ways around supply chain challenges and the global shortage of protective gear for healthcare providers.
Microsoft emerged as an early responder to the crisis, leveraging its global footprint to secure …read more