Chinese And American Alumni Of Columbia University Raise $1 Million For PPE : Coronavirus Live Updates Spurred by the concerns of members in China, Columbia University's alumni associations raised more than $1 million to buy desperately needed masks and other gear.
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Alumni In China Lead Effort To Procure PPE For Medical Workers In New York

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Alumni In China Lead Effort To Procure PPE For Medical Workers In New York

Alumni In China Lead Effort To Procure PPE For Medical Workers In New York

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The coronavirus pandemic has changed lives in profound ways, especially for health care workers. Dr. Thomas E. Lo is an anesthesiologist who works at Montefiore Nyack Hospital in New York. Since the outbreak, his job has gotten much more dangerous.

THOMAS E LO: The exposure risk as a anesthesiologist is extremely high because when we intubate a patient, we are literally less than a foot away from the patient who is in distress. And we're right by their airway, which is where the virus is.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Exposure to the coronavirus has become a big problem for health care workers - a problem made worse by a lack of personal protective equipment or PPE. Dr. Lo is trying to fix that. He's also president of the Columbia University's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons Alumni Association. And they have chapters in many places, including China.

LO: The alumni in China saw what was happening in New York and saw that many of the physicians and health care workers did not have adequate PPE or that there was a shortage of PPE.

KELLY: So Dr. Lo reached out to the doctors and physicians working in New York City and asked a simple question - what do you need to stay safe?

LO: And within 24 hours, I had dozens of emails. And I actually called them and spoke to them. And many of them were in desperate need of PPE, which included N95 masks, gowns, face shields.

SHAPIRO: Money poured in from more than 200 donors.

LO: In the course of several weeks, over $1 million was raised either in cash or donations in kind to help purchase PPE and send them over to health care workers - physicians, nurses, any type of health care worker in the New York area.

KELLY: Those contributions are already materializing, even in some of New York's hardest-hit hospitals.

LO: Elmhurst Hospital in Queens was, you know, in desperate need. We sent many PPE packages over there.

SHAPIRO: Dr. Lo says the most inspiring thing about the effort is seeing the outpouring of support from alumni associations in China, especially at a time when fear over the virus has led to increased prejudice.

LO: There has been a lot of bad sentiment towards Asian Americans or the Chinese, which is completely misinformation. And here we have a grassroots effort led by the Columbia Alumni Association in China pooling together their resources to get donations to purchase PPE to send to the United States.

KELLY: Anesthesiologist Thomas E. Lo - he's been working to bring PPE to health care workers in New York.

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