FindTheMasks-US Data Update

May 14, 2020
FindTheMasks Team ([email protected])

C. Alzona, S. Ashlock, C. Bartram, I. Baker, S. Bhadra, L. Bolling, N. Burt, Z. Cariaso, C. Chang, J. Chion, L. Cho, M. Cohen, M. Collins, S. Crayne, J. Chubak, V. Dalal, L. Dela Paz, J. Detwiler, V. Dzhabarov, D. Gaughan, E. Mandala, M. Faeldog, S. Fenton, M. Ferris, G. Gupta, C. Hagedorn*, R. Hubbard, Jaclyn, J. Hardie, E. Hirao, B. Iritani, P. Jayaram, A. Katherine, S. Kar, S. Kelleher, B. Kriss, A. Lainoff, E. Lee, J. Lee, C. Liou, J. Milner, P. Nelson, S. Nelson, J. Noordhoek, N. Orndorff, K. Parola , N. Pitaro, J. Popkin, R. Popkin, E. Przemieniecki, F. Querdasi, S. Van Rafelghem, T. Ramirez, M. Robin, G. Roche, R. Rodrigues, S. Rodriguez, J. Roesch, C. Sadowski, A. Saurin, M. Scharlock, S. Sekhri, S. Semilla, J. Sencil, R. Shah, D. Sharps, E. Shaw, K. Sitaram, I. Smith, K. Spitznagel, M. Turner, D. Tuzlak, G. Tyler, G. Wallace, P. Wartko, C. Wiseman, A. Wong, Y. Wong, L. Yang, T. Ye, and B. Zhou
(bold: data-moderators or analysis specialists, *: corresponding author)

Abstract: FindTheMasks aggregates PPE-need requests in the US and worldwide. We have seen very little change in the types of PPE our recipients request over the past eight weeks. Masks, N95 masks, and gowns remain the most-critical requests. Fewer than 100 institutions have asked to be removed from our map because they have sufficient PPE. At least 3,893 institutions in the US still need PPE.


Since March 19, FindTheMasks.com has aggregated and curated drop-off information for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers across the United States and around the world ( Canada, the EU, Switzerland, and India). This work is in partnership with many groups, including ProjectN95 and GetUsPPE.org. Our mission is to provide up-to-date maps of PPE need. Our curated US data are freely available in json and CSV formats, with similar files for other countries.

This update of our April 21 analysis is made possible by our ongoing email-refresh campaign -- our recipients are updating us with their current needs. Please refer to the April 21 analysis for extra context and information about our dataset and analysis methods. This update is intended for health-care professionals, PPE makers, PPE donors, and the curious public.

In addition, a publication, Personal protective equipment needs in the USA during the COVID-19 pandemic based on joint work between GetUsPPE.org and FindTheMasks appears today in The Lancet. We are very grateful for the hard work by both teams necessary to bring US PPE crisis-information into the medical literature.

State of the Dataset

In a nutshell, the PPE needs expressed by those submitting donation requests to FindTheMasks are still critical. The types of PPE they need are largely unchanged. We have begun to receive some removal requests from our recipients, indicating that some healthcare institutions are getting improved access to PPE supplies. However, we have received fewer than one hundred removal requests and we list 3,890 healthcare institutions at the time of writing. We continue to receive requests from new and existing recipients indicating that they are completely out of PPE or facing dire shortages.


Refresh-email campaign gives insight into today's needs

As seen in the plots below and discussed in our April 21 article, an April 8 loss of traffic flow hampered our ability to track the needs of new recipients over time. To keep our map up to date, so that donated PPE goes where it is needed most, we began emailing all of our recipients asking them for updated information. As this email campaign entered full swing in early May, we again have enough statistical power to share meaningful information.


Changes from our April 21 analysis

Wider bins: As our dataset now spans almost seven weeks, we no longer plot daily numbers. By binning our data into three-day intervals, we still measure America's changing PPE needs while reducing the fluctuations from bin to bin. This improves our statistical reliability and allows us to plot data during times with lower submission rates.

More-stringent statistical cutoff: We increased our threshold for plotting a point to a minimum of 21 entries in a bin. As we now have the luxury of a larger dataset, we can demand improved statistical reliability.

2-sigma errorbars: To help those reading our plots avoid reading too-deeply into statistical fluctuations, we now plot with more-conservative two-sigma uncertainties.


PPE Needs

As the rate with which we receive PPE requests varies widely over time, we again plot the percentage of our PPE-requesters who request each common type of PPE. The United States' PPE needs have changed only slightly since our first article: N95 masks, surgical masks, and gowns again lead the pack.


Plot of PPE needs for N95 Masks, Surgical Masks, Homemade Masks, Gloves, Gowns, Hand Sanitizer
                        Disinfecting Wipes, Thermometers, Disposable Booties, Face Shields, and Maker-made Face Shields

Figure 1: The types of PPE requested by FTM recipients are largely unchanged over time. We see only modest trends in these data at best. Demand for homemade and maker-made items remains strong. These data reflect the needs of thousands of institutions. Even a 10% need implies that hundreds of institutions need that type of PPE.


Shortages

As before, we plot the "Most significant shortages" reported by our recipients. We again see that the types of PPE needed are largely unchanged. Gowns remain an important shortage that may be underappreciated outside of the healthcare industry.


Plots of significant-shortage data for Masks, N95s, Gowns, Gloves, Sanitizer, Wipes, Thermometers, Shields, and Goggles.
                                       Trends are largely flat. Thermometers may grow slightly over time. Mask, N95s, and Gown shortages remain strong.

Figure 2: Most-significant shortages are largely unchanged over time. Masks and N95 masks lead the pack but gowns remain an important shortage.



Summary

Those who have viewed these plots carefully may notice some weak hints of optimism in the data. We share that view, especially as we see the rate of removal-requests rising slowly, but caution that many of these weak trends have little or no statistical significance. The nation's PPE need is still tremendous. Healthcare workers across the nation are working without masks, re-using masks for multiple shifts, working without gowns, and are often unable to provide masks to their patients. This is a problem that requires immediate and continued attention from government, industry, makers, community, and individual donors and suppliers. Every piece of PPE that reaches a healthcare worker or patient helps, in aggregate, to sustain a life.


How can you help?


If you have PPE to donate:

Visit https://findthemasks.com/ and find an institution that can use your help! Our map and helpful filters can help you find an institution in need quickly. If you have more than a few hundred items of PPE, please contact our partners at projectN95.org and getusppe.org.


If you need PPE:

Please fill in our form! We will add you to the map as quickly as we can. Institutions should register with our partners at projectN95.org and getusppe.org, too.


If you make PPE:

FindTheMasks is now mapping Makers at FindTheMakers.com Please head to that map to add your makerspace, sewing collective, or maker organization. If you make and sell PPE at an industrial scale, please register with Project N95.


Share #findthemasks:

Share this post, or findthemasks.com, using #findthemasks! If you donate PPE or receive PPE from a findthemasks donor, please post to social media with the hashtag #findthemasksdonation so that we can better understand how donations are flowing to recipients.


Thank you so much for your support. If you have PPE, there are thousands of institutions that need it. Right now.


Support

We are very grateful for pro-level support from Smartling, Google Maps, Slack, Jotform, Airtable, SmartyStreets, and MailChimp.

We could not have done any of this work without volunteer support from a team of 80+ volunteers who have contributed time and lost a lot of sleep to make FindTheMasks a reality.


Our hearts are with those on the front lines. There are thousands more volunteers like us across the nation and around the world doing our very best to help you.