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 is a quick look into our 3,800+ entry United States dataset. We want to share some simple inferences we have made so far. This document is for both the curious reader and those analysts who use our data.
Each time a potential recipient fills in our form, their information appears as a new row in our database. Human moderators check it for clarity and accuracy. We remove duplicate entries and update or take-down entries at the request of recipients. This process favors speed and accuracy in merging entries over maintaining the provenance of individual entries. We store original copies of form-entry data, but the analysis presented today uses our curated dataset.
There are systematic uncertainties and biases that may affect conclusions one might draw from these data. The mix of organizations that submit to us has changed and diversified over time. What began with phone-calls to hospitals now sees requests from public health organizations, some of the finest research hospitals in the country, home healthcare organizations, travel nurses, emergency medical services, clinics in jails, funeral homes, services that wash the linen from hospitals with COVID-19 patients, and beyond.
As FindTheMasks lists many non-hospital institutions (outpatient clinics, senior care, home-care, skilled nursing facilities, mental health centers, homes for the disabled, and more), it is important to understand our changing mix of hospital and non-hospital institutions.
As the number of entries each day we receive varies greatly, it is hard to see trends in the daily counts of PPE requests alone. Instead, we plot the percentage of institutions that request each kind of PPE each day. Remember that only institutions/health-care workers that need PPE have submitted donation requests to us. If an institution is fully-stocked, we will not see them. That said, only 51 of the ~5,000 contacts we have received were removal requests, most of the excess beyond 3,800 have been updates and duplicate entries to entries already present in our database. From our perspective, we believe it is a fair assumption that most healthcare institutions in the United States are starved for PPE.
When you see in the plots below a “small” number like 25% for 3-D-printed face shields, it means that one in four of our recipients wants homemade masks. Multiplied by our 3,800 recipients, that is about a thousand institutions. Odds are very good that you can find someone near you, whether they are on our list or not, who will be intensely grateful for every kind of PPE you might have.
For experts: The errorbars in these plots are computed using 1-σ population-proportion uncertainties ( z*=1 in the Wikipedia notation).
That so many institutions are now accepting home-made facemasks and maker-made PPE is a testament to both the gravity of the epidemic and the remarkable grassroots contributions of citizens worldwide.
In the needs plotted above, our recipients express the many things they need. In many cases there are shortages of most PPE, so they select most of the checkboxes on the form. On March 25, we began asking our recipients to tell us, in free text, about their most significant shortages. These data are not found in our public releases, as we have promised to keep them private. Nevertheless, we can tell you about them in aggregate.
The story at hand is a simple one: our healthcare workers need PPE of all kinds. The most-desperate needs among our recipients are N95 masks, masks of all kinds, and gowns. Some recipients are completely out of at least one of the above and are treating patients without protection.
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.
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.
We are very grateful for pro-level support from Smartling, Google Maps, and Slack. Jotform, Airtable, and SmartyStreets have made contributions to improvements that are under development.
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 doing our very best to help you.