Healthcare workers at Brooklyn Hospital and from throughout the tri-state area are calling on hospitals and government to switch from disposable personal protective equipment to replace disposable N95 masks that they say run in short supply and are more expensive in the long run.
Members of the New York State Nurses Association were joined by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and a group called “COVID Courage,” to call on the city and state to fund purchases of reusable elastomeric respirators that cost $40, instead of $5 for the N-95 mask. The reusable mask, they say, “lasts for years without changing a filter,” while the N-95 mask are supposed to be used only once a day at the most, but hospital supervisors have asked some to reuse those masks up to a week, thereby putting healthcare workers at risk because hospitals cant maintain supplies.
Dr. Anushri Anandaraja, founder of COVID Courage, held up the two masks, saying the reusable mask makes the most sense because a single reusable can cost $40 while it might cost $150 per year for N95 masks that end up in the waste stream. She said it was important to “act now as a second wave of COVID-19 is still expected to hit the city in the fall.”