Rangers’ Artemi Panarin donates N95 masks to New York hospital

New York Rangers' Artemi Panarin (10) skates during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Artemi Panarin has become the latest NHL player contributing to the fight against COVID-19, providing frontline healthcare workers at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City with a delivery of 1,500 N95 masks.

As COVID-19 cases continue to soar in and around New York, doctors, nurses and others on the frontlines have faced a strain on their supplies of medical-grade N95 masks, with the worst of the epidemic likely yet to come.

N95 masks in particular are in demand among medical providers because they provide a tight fit and help prevent a person from inhaling small, airborne infectious particles — a primary means of transmitting the novel coronavirus.

Panarin joins an ever-growing list of hockey community members doing what they can to assist medical professionals amid the crisis.

On Thursday, players from the New York Islanders donated over 3,000 N95 masks to Northwell Health, a nonprofit integrated healthcare network of 23 hospitals and nearly 800 outpatient facilities in New York state.

In March, hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer began making protective visors for healthcare workers. Buffalo Sabres star Jack Eichel has donated as well, purchasing 5,000 of the masks made by Bauer and donating them to Buffalo-area hospitals.

As of Friday night, at least 102,870 COVID-19 cases have been identified and reported in New York state alone — the epicentre of the outbreak in the United States — and more than 2,900 people have died, according to a database maintained by the New York Times.

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