In March 2020, Dr. Aenor Sawyer, an orthopedist at University of California, San Francisco, was researching solutions to decontaminate face masks when she learned a stunning fact: California had stockpiled 21 million N95 masks, and all of them were expired. "You see reports of people in rest homes being told to wear coffee filters. It’s just mind-boggling that on one side you have all these masks and the other side you have all this need," said Phil Herndon a container company owner, who recently transported 70,000 expired N95 masks to be refurbished for non-medical use. Sawyer teamed up with engineer Toby Ricco and a team of volunteers to refurbish masks with a new elastic band. Although the masks couldn't meet their original N95 certification, people would be able to wear them in non-medical settings. Over the past month, Sawyer and the volunteer crew, playfully dubbing them the Scrappy Strappers, have refurbished roughly 10,000 expired masks. They plan to distribute them to groups in desperate need, including homeless shelters and retirement facilities.

Read Full Story