Only the uninhabited reaches of the planet have been spared from the coronavirus. What began as a tidbit in the news has morphed into a worldwide pandemic that is stymying medical experts, crippling economies and frightening the nearly eight billion people who call Earth home.Yet in times of crisis, mankind
Only the uninhabited reaches of the planet have been spared from the coronavirus. What began as a tidbit in the news has morphed into a worldwide pandemic that is stymying medical experts, crippling economies and frightening the nearly eight billion people who call Earth home.
Yet in times of crisis, mankind ignores life's trivial problems and rallies around each other. Selfless acts abound and in what is truly a problem affecting everyone, the world is realizing once again it's not as big as we think it is.
That includes former Minor Leaguer Adam Law, who is once again digging into the batter's box to take a rip.
The ever-growing number of positive COVID-19 cases in the United States has produced dire warnings from medical professionals. Whether it's a lack of needed equipment or forecasting overruns at hospitals not equipped to handle such a crisis, health care facilities around the world find themselves in unchartered territory.
A lack of medical supplies, N95 respirators in particular, is making the fight against COVID-19 even harder. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-approved N95 respirator is a "respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles."
While the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has yet to recommend the general public wear N95 respirators to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses like the coronavirus, the same can't be said for health care workers.
Buoyed by his brother Tim's dental supply company, Smile Stream Solutions, Law is doing what he can to make sure the respirators are getting to those who need them.
"With my brother owning and operating a dental/orthodontic supply company, we're in a unique situation to provide something of need," Law said. "This global pandemic has overtaken all of us, so Tim is leveraging his experience in this area to help folks all over the world. I hopped aboard because I recognized the urgent need right now."
Law has taken to Twitter and other social media outlets, in addition to old-fashioned communication, to spread the word about what Smile Stream Solutions is trying to do. With so much of the world in need of N95 respirators and the company's ability to distribute them, Law wants people know a viable option exists.
"My brother is such a good guy," Law said. "This has nothing to do with making a profit or any sort of bottom line. He's doing this out of the kindness of his heart. The dental business and need for supplies will continue despite what's going on. He doesn't need to do this, but he had a hunch early on that there would be shortages [of N95 respirators]."
Sadly, those fears proved prescient, necessitating the need to focus on the delivery of respirators to a starving population. Law estimates that the need is around two million masks per day.
"My brother reached out to close friends, families and contacts he uses to produce a lot of the medical equipment, including the [respirators]," Law explained. "What we're seeing is everyone coming together to find and help people who are in need. Since [Tim] doesn't really have the time to actively pursue [people in need of respirators], myself and others are doing it for him. We're trying to serve the people who are most in need. Luckily for us, all of the systems and processes are already in place so in that sense it's business as usual. We're filling orders and getting them shipped."
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of reported global cases is over 700,000 and rising. The lengthy incubation period and ease it can be transmitted would be hard enough with the necessary equipment. A shortage only exacerbates a battle that is unlike anything the world has seen in more than a century.
Though the news is generally dour, Law is trying to look through a prism of positivity in the hopes they'll play a small part in helping defeat this pandemic.
"So far the response has been unbelievable. We're in the process of getting masks shipped across the country but also to places like Algeria and Nigeria. I've been grateful for people spreading the word and for all the messages that have come my way. I'm making a point to try and reach as many people as possible."
If his name rings a bell, it should. Born into a baseball family -- his grandfather Vern and father Vance both enjoyed notable Major League careers -- Adam didn't find the same success. Selected in the 12th round of the 2013 Draft by the Dodgers, Law climbed as high as Triple-A, reaching Tacoma in 2018 as a member of the Mariners organization. Although his time as a player ended following Spring Training in 2019, the 30-year-old remains involved in the game. He is part of the Dodgers' player development sector while also working toward his master's degree in performance psychology.
"I had other opportunities to play after the Mariners released me," Law said. "I toyed with playing overseas or in independent ball but decided not to. I felt it was best to step away at that point and move into a new chapter of my life."
Law misses the physical aspect of the game and the familial closeness he developed with his teammates. Yet, there's a more surprising part he finds himself looking back on.
"Playing was fun. It was great, but what I look back on and enjoy the most is the mental part. The grind we went through every day as players. It's propelled me into my new passion of performance psychology and benefits me in a number of ways in my new career. The mental repetition to keep yourself sane is a good life lesson."
Although his career ended a year ago and he still works within the game, baseball is on the backburner for the time being.
"This situation is a unique opportunity for me or anyone to get out of their own world," Law said. "I can't go anywhere except to look outside of myself and do something for the greater good. It's really brought some purpose to my life these last few days and I hope that continues."
The gravity of the situation doesn't lend itself to much in the way of silver linings, but without them hope is hard to come by. Law subscribes to that theory and tries to apply it to life as we all know it at this moment in time.
"There's so much desperation all over the world right now. To know we can really make a difference in people's lives is something to latch onto. We're not only receiving large-scale orders from hospitals or clinics. We've heard from people who are health care workers themselves or who have family members in the business they want to help. They're ordering too.
"My brother said he doesn't care if people are ordering a million respirators or just one. It doesn't matter. We want these things out there in the world because that's what the world needs right now. We want to save lives."
Michael Avallone is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB.