While it’s correct to put the damper on someone who thinks they can make something in their basement that looks like a mask and wants to call it an N95 mask, the fact is that there are legitimate manufacturing companies out there with professional engineers (like myself) on staff who understand supply chains, and liability, and regulations. These are the companies that governments are asking to re-tool to help with the pandemic.
It’s not bad for the high schoolers in the FIRST community to be exposed to how real engineers look at problems like this, what kind of process they go through to narrow down potential candidates, etc.
Step 1, if you have an idea and want to help, is to do your homework. Read everything you can about the problem, and what others have been doing to try to solve it.
Step 2 is to start searching for candidate ideas. Has anyone else tried that? Is it feasible?
Step 3 is narrowing down candidates by asking tough questions. Can it be done with the resources that are available to you? Can you source the components? Can you make them yourself? Are there regulatory requirements? What’s involved in that? Who’s done it before - can we talk to them?
Everyone has a chance to do something, but you need to approach these problems with a skeptical eye. Lots of smart and motivated people are working on it.