(TMU) — As healthcare workers continue to cope with a tsunami of patients infected with CoViD-19, they’ve been forced to cope with critical shortages of N95 face masks that block the virus.
Some facilities like NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital are burning through no less than 40,000 N95 masks per day with the chief of surgery expecting the number to swell to 70,000 per day as the pandemic spreads, amNY reports.
But now, researchers at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, say that they have discovered a method to decontaminate the masks and reuse them, extending a crucial lifeline to frontline medical staff coping with surging cases of the novel virus.
Scientists are using specialized equipment to vaporize hydrogen peroxide, permeating the layers of the N95 masks with a cleansing aerosol that can kill germs, including viruses, without degrading the materials used in the precious masks.
So far, at least 763 cases of CoViD-19 and three deaths have been reported in North Carolina. And while the state isn’t yet facing the level of crisis experienced in flashpoints like New York City, California, or Italy, medical personnel in the Tar Heel State are hoping to get ahead of the curve.
The preservation of personal protective equipment (PPE) like N95 masks that would otherwise be disposed of will help them along in achieving that goal.
Duke Health researchers confirm a method to decontaminate & reuse scarce N95 face masks, a critical piece of personal protective equipment for front-line health teams tending patients w/ COVID-19. See more:https://t.co/mH79dJJnKZ #ppeshortage #coronavirus #covid19 #dukehealth pic.twitter.com/CHVBNjl3ZK
— Duke Health (@DukeHealth) March 26, 2020
The decontamination technology and method had long been in use by Duke Health’s biocontainment lab, but applying it to the typically-disposable N95 masks hadn’t been considered until the present crisis.
Dr. Matthew Stiegel, director of the Occupational and Environmental Safety Office, said:
“We had never considered needing it for something like face masks. But we’ve now proven that it works and will begin using the technology immediately in all three Duke Health hospitals.”
The application of hydrogen peroxide to contaminated N95 masks had been tested and published by researchers in 2016, but the process wasn’t adapted on a widespread basis. However, Duke has managed to include fit testing into the cleaning process, ensuring that the masks are cleaned for all sizes, which hadn’t previously been done.
Dr. Monte Brown, vice president for administration for the Duke University Health Care System, said that Duke plans on making the protocols for the technique known on a widespread basis throughout international healthcare systems. The equipment needed for the process is already available for many hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.
In a statement from Duke Health, Brown said:
“We could stand up in front of our staff and state with confidence that we are using a proven decontamination method.
It has been a proven method for years. While this alone will not solve the problem, if we and others can reuse masks even once or twice, that would be a huge benefit given the current shortages.”
Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces
Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.
And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.
The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.
The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.
At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.
When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.
Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.
The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.
The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.
“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.
“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.
“His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.
Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.
Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber
An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.
In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.
“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”
As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.
Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.
“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.
Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.
So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.
“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”
As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.
Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.
“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”
Binx the Cat, Who Survived Florida Condo Collapse, Found and Reunited With Family
Amid the tragedy of last month’s collapse of a South Florida condo building, there was a tiny bit of good news when a cat named Binx, who lived on the ninth floor of the Surfside building, was found safe and returned to his family.
“I’m glad that this small miracle could bring some light into the lives of a hurting family today and provide a bright spot for our whole community in the midst of this terrible tragedy,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in a Friday press conference, reports NPR.
Levine Cava explained that a volunteer who feeds street cats in the area recognized the cat near the building before bringing him to an animal shelter, where it was then identified.
Gina Nicole Vlasek, the co-founder of the The Kitty Campus rescue group, posted on Facebook that a black cat had been found near the rubble of the group before it was brought to the shelter on Thursday night.
“We are so grateful to be able to help in any small way,” Vlasek said.
“All we needed was a ray of hope in this tragedy,” she continued. “Today was one of the most amazing days.. one of the survivors came to see the cat and to determine if it was her families cat and IT WAS!”
The mayor said that animal control workers are continuing to work to recover any pets that may have survived the horrible collapse.
The 12-story Surfside condo collapsed on June 24. At least 79 people have been confirmed dead, with 61 additional residents remaining unaccounted for.
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