amreading The Economist, 2 May 2020

A multitude of drops

Private citizens are valiantly trying to compensate for federal failures

Before the pandemic, John-Paul Kaminski was a retired cross-country coach and middle-school technology teacher in Dobbs Ferry, a village about 15 miles (24 km) up the Hudson River from Manhattan, who liked to tinker with his 3D printer at home. He used it to make key chains, jewellery boxes, maze games and the occasional carved pumpkin. These days, he and other tech teachers he knows from university use their printers — 60 in all — to make head- and chinstraps that hold plastic face-shields in place. A college student nearby uses a laser cutter to stamp out the shields himself. Using materials bought out-of-pocket and through donations, they have given away more than 3,000 face shields to hospitals and nursing homes in four counties.

Across America, makers of all ages and skill levels have thrown themselves into helping to alleviate the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). Some, like Mr. Kaminski, are making masks, shields and gowns. Others are collaborating on designs, and making those designs public. Still others are trying to figure out how to get PPE to those who need it most as quickly as possible. These charitable tinkerers provide ground for both a deeply American kind of hope — strangers doing as much as they can, for the good of their neighbours — and despair, at the colossal federal failure that inspired them.

Happy Mother’s Day, and STAY SAFE dear blog readers!

 

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