Medical personnel treating COVID-19 patients across the United States, faced with personal protective equipment shortages that are causing , illnesses and , have been forced to do what was once unthinkable: crowdsource money to buy their own masks, gowns and other supplies.

It’s a sobering twist on the recent trend that has led hundreds of thousands of Americans to to cover their medical expenses.

A simple as the equipment is known, on returns thousands of results from the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland. A subcategory of these fundraisers are those started by health care workers, their family members and their friends, who are trying to help with the national pandemic response and keep health care workers safe.

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