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You are here News Health Despite warnings, the US wasn’t prepared with masks for coronavirus. Now it’s too late.

Despite warnings, the US wasn’t prepared with masks for coronavirus. Now it’s too late.

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Covid masks

While treating coronavirus patients in one of the busiest emergency rooms in Manhattan, Dr. Jason Hill wore the same disposable respirator mask for up to four shifts in a row.

He’d take the mask home from Columbia University Medical Center, his coffee-flavored breath clinging to its fibers. Then he’d bake it in the oven to kill any viral hitchhikers. A half hour at 140 degrees.

For months as the virus filled hospitals in New York and across the nation, doctors, nurses and other medical workers were forced to risk their lives in similar ways – sharing protective gear, reusing masks, or going without – simply because there weren’t enough to go around.

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