Posts tagged with "Coronavirus"

Roll Call exclusive: States plan to independently vet COVID-19 vaccine data

September 18, 2020

Governors, including New York’s Andrew Cuomo, are publicly raising doubts about the FDA’s and the CDC’s ability to withstand pressure from President Donald Trump to develop a coronavirus vaccine at warp speed, Roll Call reported exclusively on September 17.

Those same officials are expressing skepticism about federal reviews of potential COVID-19 vaccines—with some going so far as to plan to independently analyze clinical trial data before distributing a vaccine, in a sign of how sharply trust in federal health agencies has fallen this year.

The wariness—which public health experts call highly unusual if not unprecedented—could undercut the goal of a cohesive national immunization strategy and create a patchwork of efforts that may sabotage hopes of containing the coronavirus.

State plans to review the data indicate how deeply any appearance of political meddling could disrupt vaccination and cost lives Roll Call says.

And it’s not a surprise that some red states appear more likely to rely on the Trump Administration, while blue states may scour the data and be more cautious about vaccinating their residents immediately.

CQ Roll Call contacted state health departments in 50 states and the District of Columbia and received substantive responses from a dozen:

  • Seven jurisdictions indicated that they would analyze the data independently: California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Michigan, New York, Oregon and West Virginia.
  • Another two—Montana and Wyoming—said they would only administer a vaccine that completed clinical trials and an outside committee’s review.
  • Three states —Arizona, Georgia and Oklahoma— indicated they would accept federal recommendations as usual.

 “The president says he’s going to have a vaccine. CDC is talking about a vaccine in early November. How convenient. It’s going to be an Election Day miracle drug,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said earlier this month.

Cuomo referenced the FDA’s emergency use authorization earlier this year of a drug touted by Trump, hydroxychloroquine, which the agency later withdrew after finding the drug was not effective against COVID-19 and could lead to dangerous heart conditions. “Some people are concerned that the vaccine may wind up being hydroxychloroquine,” he said, adding that the state health department will review the research before recommending that New Yorkers take any vaccine.

Nearly 200,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Research contact: @rollcall

Teens are overdosing on allergy medication as they take on the latest TikTok challenge

September 2, 2020

Millions of people are tackling the latest dance and fitness challenges on the wildly trending app, TikTok. But there’s a new challenge involving the over-the-counter allergy relief drug, Benadryl, that doctors say is dangerous—and could potentially be fatal.

The new challenge enticers TikTok followers to take large amounts —a dozen or more pills—of Benadryl—until they begin hallucinating, according to reports by Newsweek and Men’s Health.

“The dose that can cause a hallucination is very close to the dose that can cause something potentially life-threatening,” Scott Schaeffer, director of the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information warned during a recent interview, adding, “Large doses of Benadryl can cause seizures and, particularly, problems with the heart,” he said.

Last week, a 15-year-old Oklahoma girl died after reportedly taking the challenge. In May, three teens were treated at the Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, after taking the challenge, reported ABC 10. One teen took 14 pills in a night.

Amber Jewison, nurse practitioner at Cook Children’s Medical Center, told ABC 10 these recent cases are different than previous Benadryl overdoses.

“We have seen kids who overdose in suicide attempts,” Jewison said. “But this was different. These kids weren’t trying to harm themselves. They watched a video and it told them exactly how many milligrams to take and to see how it made them feel.”

Jewison believes the novel coronavirus pandemic has caused teens to seek out excitement after being stuck at home.

“A lot of kids are bored right now due to the pandemic. So I think it expands their curiosities,” Jewison said. “Just be hyper-aware of what your kids are doing.”

Research contact: @MensHealthMag

Trump has an Achilles heel—and Democratic advertisers finally know how to use it to advantage

July 3, 2020

After more than a year of polling, focus groups, and message testing against the president, there’s a growing consensus about what damages Trump —and what doesn’t, David Siders of Politico reports.

Indeed, President Donald Trump wasn’t even halfway through his May 20 speech in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when Democratic advertisers in Washington, D.C. and New York knew they had struck gold: They didn’t focus on the president’s rants about descending a ramp at West Point. or drinking a small glass of water with two hands—or even on his use of the term, Kung Flu, to describe the pandemic.

Instead, Politico notes, they ads zeroed in on Trump’s admission that he urged officials to “slow the [coronavirus] testing down.”

It’s a reflection of a growing consensus among Democrats about what kind of hits on Trump are most likely to persuade swing voters — and which ones won’t. As in 2016, ad makers are focusing on Trump’s character. But unlike four years ago, they are no longer focusing on his character in isolation. Rather, they are pouring tens of millions of dollars into ads yoking his behavior to substantive policy issues surrounding the coronavirus, the economy, and the civil unrest since the death of George Floyd.

“You can’t chase the Trump clown car,” said Bradley Beychok, president of the progressive group American Bridge 21st Century PAC, which claims to be “the largest opposition research, video tracking, and rapid response organization in Democratic politics.”

“Him drinking water and throwing a glass is goofy and may make for a good meme, but it doesn’t matter in the scheme of things … What people care about is this outbreak.”

How does he know? In their preparations for 2020, outside Democratic groups spent more than a year surveying voters in swing states by phone and online. They convened in-person focus groups and enlisted voters in swing states to keep diaries of their media consumption.

Multiple outside groups said they began to test their ads more rigorously than in 2016, using online panels to determine how likely an ad was to either change a viewer’s impression of Trump or to change how he or she planned to vote. Priorities USA, a major Democratic super PAC, alone expects to test more than 500 ads this cycle. Priorities, American Bridge, and other outside groups, including organized labor, have been meeting regularly to share internal research and media plans.

“One thing we saw in polling a lot before the coronavirus outbreak is that people didn’t think he was a strong leader or a good leader, they complained about his Twitter,” Nick Ahamed, analytics director at Priorities USA, told Politico. “But they had a hard time connecting those character flaws they saw in him with their day-to-day experience.”

Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and recent protests, he said, “really made concrete for people the ways in which his leadership has direct consequences on them and their loved ones … It’s easier to make ads that talk about his leadership than before the outbreak.”

The advertising elements that appear to work, according to Politico’s interviews with more than a dozen Democrats involved in message research, vary from ad to ad. Using Trump’s own words against him often tests well, as do charts and other graphics, which serve to highlight Trump’s distaste for science. Voters who swung from President Barack Obama to Trump in 2016—and who regret it—are good messengers.

And so is Joe Biden, whose voice is widely considered preferable to that of a professional narrator. Not only does he convey empathy, according to Democrats inside and outside Biden’s campaign, but using Biden’s voice “helps people think about him as president,” said Patrick Bonsignore, Biden’s director of paid media.

But the ad makers’ overarching takeaway from their research was this: While Trump may not be vulnerable on issues of character alone, as he demonstrated in 2016, he is vulnerable when character is tied to his policy record on the economy and health care.

 “What we’ve learned form a lot of previous experience … is that quite honestly, people who work in politics can be bad prognosticators in terms of which ad will work,” said Patrick McHugh, Priorities’ executive director. “You see a lot of times the videos that go viral on Twitter … you test those ads, and more often than not they backlash … they can move voters toward Trump.”

For the negative ad industry, the coronavirus has been a bonanza because it inextricably linked both the economy and health care. On the evening of his Tulsa rally, American Bridge, which had already been working on an ad pummeling Trump for his response to the coronavirus, bookended its material with Trump’s acknowledgment that he urged officials to “slow the testing down.”

Biden’s campaign rushed a video onto social media skewering Trump for the admission. And Priorities USA, the Biden campaign’s preferred big-money vehicle, was on TV within days with Trump’s testing remarks in the swing states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Michigan.

And the ads hit their target.

 “On the campaign they’ll say such horrible things about me. It’s a very unfair business,” Trump said on Fox News. “But the ad [Democrats] did this morning, it’s a great ad for them.”

Research contact: @politico

As COVID-19 rages, Trump asks Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare

June 29,2020

The number of confirmed new coronavirus cases per day in the United States hit an all-time high of 40,000 on Friday, June 26—eclipsing the mark set during one of the deadliest stretches in late April, CBS News reports; noting that there is “ample evidence” that the pandemic is making a comeback.

Yet, even so, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late on June 25 to terminate the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare—the only health insurance to which many Americans have access. If the justices agree, they will wipe out coverage for as many as 23 million Americans, The New York Times reports.

In an 82-page brief submitted an hour before a midnight deadline, the Administration joined Republican officials in 18 states in arguing that, in 2017, the largely Republican Congress had rendered the law unconstitutional when it zeroed out the tax penalty for not buying insurance—the so-called individual mandate.

In his brief, Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco maintained that the health law’s two remaining central provisions are now invalid because Congress intended that all three work together, the Times said.

The court has not said when it will hear oral arguments, but they are most likely to take place in the fall, just as Americans are preparing to go to the polls in November.

Republicans have long said their goal is to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act but have yet to agree on an alternative. They are bracing for the possibility that the effort to overturn the health law will cost them, according to the Times report.

Joel White, a Republican strategist, said in a recent interview with the news outlet that he considered it “pretty dumb to be talking about how we need to repeal Obamacare in the middle of a pandemic.”

Democrats, who view health care a winning issue—and who reclaimed the House majority in 2018 on their promise to expand access and bring down costs—are trying to use the Supreme Court case to press their advantage. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has scheduled a vote for Monday, June 29, on a measure to expand the healthcare law, in an effort to draw a sharp contrast between Democrats and Republicans.

“President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty,” Pelosi said in a statement late Thursday night, after the administration’s brief was filed.

“If President Trump gets his way,” she added, “130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will lose the A.C.A.’s lifesaving protections and 23 million Americans will lose their health coverage entirely.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Gallup: 66% of Americans still are ‘worried’ about COVID-19 exposure; 29% are ‘very worried’

June 18, 2020

While about one-third of Americans believe, if you can’t see it, you can’t catch it; the rest of us still are relying on face masks and hand sanitizer. In fact, about two-thirds of Americans continue to say they “are  worried” about being exposed to the coronavirus, as multiple states see a new spike in cases, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday reveals, according to a report by The Hill.

Gallup found that 29% of respondents are “very worried” about exposure to the coronavirus, and 66% are either “somewhat” or “very” worried.

The proportion who are concerned about the coronavirus has risen since Gallup began asking the question in February, The Hill notes. That month, 36% of Americans said they were either somewhat or very worried about exposure—a figure that more than doubled in March; and has plateaued at somewhere between 63% and 67% since then.

Specifically, 37% of black respondents and 50% of Hispanics said they were “very” worried, compared to only 25% of white respondents. A number of studies have indicated that COVID-19 is impacting people of color at disproportionate rates across the country. 

And The Hill says, there are also partisan divides over how concerned Americans are, with 85% of Democrats saying they are at least somewhat worried that they or their family will come into contact with the virus, compared with 47% of Republicans and 66% of Independents.

There have been over 2.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide, and nearly 117,000 people have died.

The poll comes as several states across the country are seeing new spikes in coronavirus cases, throwing reopening plans into question. California, Texas, Arizona and Florida are among the states reporting the highest daily increases in case counts. In Texas, health authorities on Tuesday registered the state’s highest number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The Trump Administration has sought to blame the rise in cases on the increasing number of tests, but experts say there has also been a rise in the percentage of tests that are coming back positive.

The Gallup poll surveyed 1,034 adults from May 28 to June 4.

Research contact: @thehill

Latest buzz: Mosquitoes don’t carry coronavirus

May 29, 2020

Mosquito season is upon us and—considering that these bloodsuckers are known to transmit diseases—people are concerned: Even with the lockdowns lifting, is it safe to go outside? Do mosquitoes carry the novel coronavirus? And if so, can they transmit it to humans and infect a person with COVID-19?

The short answer, according to a report by Health: It’s unlikely. Official guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that there is no information or evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted through mosquito bites. 

For starters, the coronavirus is a respiratory virus, and the main mode of transmission is by viral droplets released into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. For a mosquito to become infected with a virus, it must be present in the blood the mosquito feeds on.

“SARS-CoV2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is a respiratory virus that is almost exclusively contained within the lungs and respiratory tract of infected people, and rarely gets into the blood,” Emily Gallichotte, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Microbiology,Iimmunology, and Pathology at Colorado State University, told Health during a recent interview.

Plus, for a virus to pass to a person through a mosquito or other kind of insect bite—such as a tick bite—the virus must be able to replicate inside the mosquito or tick. Neither the new coronavirus nor any other type of coronavirus has been shown to do that.

“It’s quite a complex process,” former US Navy entomologist Joseph M. Conlon, who has extensive worldwide experience in mosquito control and is technical advisor to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), said during an interview with the news outlet“First of all, the mosquito would have to pick up the requisite amount of virus during its bite. The virus must then not only survive the digestive process, but replicate within the mosquito and pass through the gut wall to the coelom (main body cavity) of the mosquito. From there it must make its way to the salivary glands and be expressed by the mosquito as part of its salivary secretions.”

Furthermore, mosquitoes are very genetically different from humans. “This makes it challenging for viruses to have the ability to infect both of us,” says Gallichotte. “We have different receptors on the surface of cells and different replication machinery inside our cells.”

Relatively few human viruses have the ability to infect both humans and mosquitoes. “The vast majority of human viruses (such as influenza, HIV, and herpes) have been infecting humans for a very very long time, and even though many of these end up in our blood, they are still unable to infect mosquitoes,” says Gallichotte. “Conversely, there are many mosquito viruses that are unable to infect humans, or any mammals. There are no known coronaviruses that can infect mosquitoes.”

Viruses that can be spread to humans by mosquitoes include West Nile virus, the virus that causes dengue fever, and chikungunya virus, all of which circulate in the blood of infected people. “West Nile virus is able to infect a mosquito to the point where the virus load is abundant in the salivary glands,” Melissa Doyle, scientific program manager at the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (SGVMVCD), tells Health. “When the mosquito bites a person, the virus is able to travel from the salivary glands into the human body.”

So it’s pretty clear that COVID-19 is the last thing you should be worrying about if a mosquito has been feasting on your leg. Keep swatting them away, though. “Due to the heavy focus on COVID-19, many people may forget that disease threats may already be buzzing right outside their window.” SGVMVCD Public Information Officer Levy Sun told Health.

Conlon points out that mosquitoes can factor into the severity of COVID-19, meaning it’s crucial to maintain robust measures to reduce their numbers. “Studies have shown that factors contributing to potentially serious or fatal outcomes attendant to COVID-19 infection involve underlying medical issues, such as neurologic conditions that weaken the ability to cough or an already stressed immune system due to concurrent infection by mosquito-borne viruses,” he says.

Mosquitoes or no mosquitoes, it’s still crucial to keep following healthy coronavirus protocol to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Clean your hands frequently, practice social distancing, stay home if you’re sick, and avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.

Research contact: @health

State DOC rejects 4,600 face masks for inmates donated by Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware

April 30, 2020

Following weeks of refusal by the Delaware State Department of Correction (DOC) to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to prison inmates; on April 30 , Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware (CPBD) denounced the state in a press release for rejecting its donation of 4,600 face masks.

After distributing 10,000 masks to frontline healthcare workers and vulnerable populations throughout Delaware;  CPBD secured an additional 4,600 face masks, which the group immediately offered to the DOC in the wake of the first inmate death from the virus at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center for men near Smyrna, Delaware, earlier this week.

After initially accepting CPBD’s offer, the DOC reversed its decision and rejected the masks just four hours later—after agency officials informed the office of DOC Commissioner Claire DeMatteis, a political appointee of Governor John Carney, who has been criticized by CPBD for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

CPBD castigated the state’s rebuff, saying: “The DOC’s rejection of the PPE comes as the agency has still failed to provide face masks to all 4,200 inmates in its facilities, despite updated Centers for Disease Control guidelines that recommend wearing face coverings to slow the spread of the virus.

“With prisons across the country emerging as vectors for transmission of the deadly coronavirus, civil rights organizations including the ACLU and the NAACP have urged state officials to take steps like providing masks to mitigate the risk of coronavirus in correctional facilities.

“Delaware’s prisons are disproportionately filled with people of color, and racial breakdowns of the state’s coronavirus cases show that Black and Hispanic Delawareans are being infected with the coronavirus at a drastically higher rate than white residents.”

Said Pastor Dale Dennis II of Hoyt Memorial CME Church in Wilmington, “People of color make up over 60% of Delaware’s prison population—but less than 40% of our residents. We know that black and brown folks have been the victims of historic, systemic injustices at the hands of our criminal justice system, but the coronavirus crisis has put those that are incarcerated at a different level of vulnerability. I am joining the calls from many Pastors across the State for the DOC to provide the care that they would want to receive and protect our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers housed in their correctional care.”

Research contact: @ProBusinessDE

Poll: 67% of voters support mail-in ballots for November elections

April 22, 2020

As states explore ways to expand voting options amid the lockdown for the coronavirus outbreak, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds that a majority of voters support changing election law so that everyone can vote by mail.

Nobody wants to risk catching the lethal disease while he or she is standing in line for the polls, or voting.

And they have a point: Indeed, according to Business Insider and the Associated Press, officials in Wisconsin have traced at least seven positive cases of COVID-19 to in-person voting held during the April 7 primaries in that state. Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Koiwalik said six of the cases involved voters who cast ballots in person on election day; while in one case, a poll worker was infected.

In the latest poll by the Journal/NBC News, some 58% of voters said they favor changing election laws permanently to allow voting by mail. While 39% oppose a permanent change, one-quarter of that group says mail-in voting should be allowed this November due to the virus.

When those findings are combined, 67% of voters in the survey say they favor a mail-in voting option for this November.

Views divide sharply by party, with 82% of Democrats backing a permanent change, compared with 31% of Republicans. Among Independents, 61% favor expanding the option.

In Congress, Democrats are pushing for funding in coronavirus legislation to expand mail-in voting nationwide, but President Trump opposes the idea, claiming it allows for fraud.

Five states already vote almost entirely by mail. Nearly a quarter of Americans from all states cast mail or absentee ballots in the 2016 general election, according to federal data.

Some states, including Republican-led West Virginia and Indiana, said they would allow any voter to cast an absentee ballot in party primaries this year because of the pandemic. In states such as Texas and Wisconsin, mail-in voting proposals have been the subject of partisan disputes.,

Views on the matter also differ by age and race, the Journal/NBC News poll found. Among 18- to 34-year-old respondents, 74% favored allowing all voters to cast ballots by mail. By contrast, 46% of those 65 or older supported the idea.

Some 67% of African-Americans and 73% of Latinos favored a permanent change to broaden mail-in voting, compared with 54% of white voters.

The Journal/NBC News poll surveyed 900 registered voters from April 13-15.

Research contact: @WSJ

On phone call, Bank of America exec rejects staff concerns about coming back to work amid virus

April 10, 2020

Your money or your life: Some U.S. employers are so concerned about the bottom line that they are ignoring the fears of staff members about getting back to work amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

And now one of the worst management-level offenders has been caught in the act:  A recording of a top Bank of America executive complaining about the effect of the coronavirus on his staff’s work-ethic has been leaked to CNBC.

According to the cable news network, Fabrizio Gallo, global head of Equities, told top-level colleagues during a March 25 conference call that staff productivity comes before personal comfort and the wish to work from home. He noted on the call that “We cannot provide orderly markets” with people working from home.

Although 95% of employees currently are conducting trades from home, the bank is considering when to ask them to return to their office desks. Gallo noted on the call that “We cannot provide orderly markets” with people working from home.

Gallo told those on the call there would be “special circumstances” for those with underlying illnesses—singling out one staffer with a compromised immune system from a battle with cancer —but he made it abundantly clear that everyone wouldn’t get the same treatment. “Of course, we are going to entertain special cases but not the ‘I don’t feel comfortable, sorry.’ It doesn’t work that way over the long term.”

He pointed out that long-term employees, especially, must take the needs of the firm into consideration—and even hinted at demotions and layoffs in the tape received by CNBC, should “people decide they don’t want to be in a critical function.”

“So, people have to understand that too,” he said. “You cannot on one hand say you cannot trust the firm and on the other hand get the money from the firm, for a long period of time if you are in a critical function. Now if people decide they don’t want to be in a critical function we can have that conversation too. Every single person in this office right now has a family. Every single person in this office right now has children. Every single person in this office right now has elderly parents. Some are very far away, some are here. Every single person in this office is worrying about it.”

He further threatened, ““There’s a balance there between critical mass in the office and not critical mass in the office. If you’re deemed critical and you decide to stay at home then we’ll just take your access away—no problem, after a certain period of time. I assume people when they’re staying at home, they are self-quarantining? Are they’re going out for a walk? They’re going to the supermarket? So, you can catch it at the supermarket. You can catch it at the CVS. You can catch it walking next to a person.”

In response to the CNBC report, a Bank of America spokesperson said: “The premise of this conversation is that, after a period of time and the government and health officials have said that it is safe, people will need to come back to work and we know people will have personal challenges and we will need to help them plan for that. This conversation took place two weeks ago when we were establishing new protocols about employees executing trades from home. We have 95% of our people working from home in the trading businesses including some of our most senior traders.”

Research contact: @CNBC

Skiers and suppliers donate goggles to healthcare workers in desperate need of PPE

April 3, 2020

As healthcare professionals continue to face severe supply shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) amid a global pandemic, one of the many makeshift solutions to the problem has been implemented by the winter sports community, The Boston Globe reports.

Skiers and snowboarders, like other sports enthusiasts, had their season cut short by the measures intended to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak. But thanks to a newly created New England-based organization, they can help pitch in to remedy the shortage of protective medical equipment.

Goggles For Docs is helping companies and individuals donate ski and snowboard goggles to hospitals for use as personal protective equipment (PPE). It was started by Jon Schaefer, co-owner and general manager of Catamount and Berkshire East ski areas.

Schaefer, who led the charge to close ski areas due to the threat of the coronavirus, noted that his heightened awareness was because of direct connections with the healthcare world.

“My wife is a physician’s assistant at Berkshire Medical Center, and there was an early outbreak in Pittsfield,” Schaefer said. “I know a lot of the doctors there. I have a friend who intubated patient zero in Vermont, so I guess I had a direct line to the stress.”

But. he said, the inspiration for the donations came on Saturday, March 28: “A friend of a friend, who is a physician in New York emailed me asking for ski goggles for the health care workers there. That email went out to six of us. Within 20 minutes, I was getting that same email forwarded to me from other friends. All I could think of is, jeez, this doctor is going to get 10,000 pairs of Smith goggles sent to his house and that’s not a very efficient use of resources.”

Schaefer started a Google sheet and a contact list. Pretty soon, the list of hospitals signing up went from one to six.  On Sunday morning, he woke up to what seemed like 500 emails.

One of the messages that came to Schaefer, who is, himself, a former Middlebury College Division 1 ski racer, contained a message from Trevor Crist, the CEO of Inntopia — a Stowe-based ski resort software company, offering whatever help was needed in getting things more organized.

“I knew the company, but had never spoken [to] or heard from these guys before,” says Schaefer.  “On a return trip from a local grocery, I started fleshing out a website on a phone call with them.” The Goggles for Docs site went online at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

“ All the while the word was spreading at the hospital level. “Even as we were on the phone building this, three more hospitals signed up,” Schaefer said.

As of Monday evening, March 30, nearly 2,000 used and new goggles were being sent to hospitals in seven states—and requests to organize have come in from hospitals as far away as New Zealand and Spain. On Monday night, ten more hospitals signed up, with a stated need of nearly 1,000 more goggles.

“I’m not sure how it works on their end, but doctors have told me two things: First, that they need goggles as COVID-19 can be transmitted with, say a direct cough to the eyeball, and second, that they can take care of disinfecting and distributing them,” Schaefer said.

While Schaefer’s wife is not currently wearing goggles as her hospital has adequate supplies of eyewear, Schaefer says that Berkshire Medical Center has put in an order for 300 and their need was met by the public with a large contribution, 217, coming from Uvex.

He told The Boston Globe, “What’s crazy about this whole thing is one day we’re all going to meet,” Schaefer said of the hundreds of volunteers. “There’s this whole team that’s developed, and only a handful of us that know each other face to face.

“Everybody wants to help. The one thing I think we did was connect people with a lot of passion to help and a motivated ski community with people that are really asking for help. If anything, maybe in that there’s just a little bit of hope. People are fired up.”

“I didn’t wake up this week thinking I was going to be the COVID Goggle Guy — we have a lot to take care of at our businesses now too,” says Schaefer. “It was just one thing that we as a ski industry could do to help.”

Research contact: @BostonGlobe