The global demand for the N95 mask has increased exponentially since the pandemic started. Companies like 3M had been doubling their efforts to meet global demands. And now that the United States has replaced China for having the most number of cases in the entire world, the need for an N95 mask has increased too.
In California, there is not so much of a heavy load of coronavirus cases on a daily basis. This is because the state has maintained its number of cases at a lower rate compared to states like North and South Dakota. Why? Prevention. People started wearing masks, like the N95 mask. Wearing masks had a popular reputation in California. Not only to people but to the media as well.
What is an N95 mask anyway?
For starters, an N95 mask is a protective mask regulated by the National Institute in Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) in the United States of America. The N95 mask is proven to filter up to 95% of airborne particles like dust, smoke, and fluids like spit and blood. The N95 mask is different from the regular disposable surgical face masks. A surgical face mask is loose-fitting. It means the possibility of leakage and bacterial contamination is higher than that of the N95 mask. The N95 mask, on the other hand, gives a tight fit that allows the wearer to be protected and be free from any microbial contamination and fluid contact. The N95 mask is popular in the fields of Medicine, Engineering, and Construction. It is lightweight and is only good for one-time use.
Why is the N95 mask popular in California?
The popularity of the N95 mask is not with the huge number of people wearing them. It is with a large amount of money that a company has to return to California. Earlier May of this year, an estimated amount of $250 million was refunded to California. This amount was meant to be spent on protection masks like the N95 mask. However, the Chinese company involved was not able to make it. The N95 mask is intended for the medical personnel for their protection against the virus.
In fact, the deal amounted to $1 billion for protection masks like the N95 mask, which are tight-fitting and the loose-fitting disposable surgical masks. The estimated $250 million was in fact an initial payment done in April for the mask, like the N95 mask. Stipulated in the signed contract, the state of California funded $3.30 for a piece of the N95 mask and a measly 55 cents for the disposable surgical mask per piece.
May 22 was another set of schedules for the N95 mask delivery. But prior to these masks to even arrive at hospitals, they need to be validated and approved. The reason for the interruption of the N95 mask certification was not identified but is situated into two scenarios; either with the agency that will do the validation and approval process of the N95 mask or piles of the N95 mask did not make it just yet on the American soil.
Both the surgical mask and the N95 mask were manufactured in China. The N95 mask still had to pass the required specifics stipulated by the laws in the US and, most importantly in California.
Another incident of the popularity of the N95 mask happened recently last September. It is when the state's public health department terminated the utilization and dispense of the N95 mask from the Santa Clara based company Advoque. Stipulated in the $90 million deal that the N95 mask from Advoque must pass the necessary requirements for validation and approval prior to its public distribution. The N95 mask from the company did not pass the standards established by NIOSH. Hence, the termination of N95 mask usage to those who have acquired and purchased the mask from the company.
Why is the N95 mask important?
With the pandemic that everyone is in, the N95 mask is a proven device for protection. With its ability to filter a high percentage of particles, wearing an N95 mask guarantees safety and precaution. The N95 mask is a part of the triad of safety that medical personnel follows along with the face shield and the bodysuit. It is important for people to know the protection they are getting with the mask they are wearing.
Issues with the N95 mask
With the protection it provides, the N95 mask also faces issues. The issue of counterfeit for example. There are quite a few online sellers that were apprehended by law because of selling counterfeit versions of the N95 mask. Truly, these sellers are taking advantage of making more money out of these counterfeit versions of the N95 mask.
Another issue is scarcity. Since the start of the pandemic, people from all across the globe had practiced hoarding and storing masks like the N95 mask. That is why leading companies that produce the N95 mask are constantly making efforts to meet international demand.
Overpricing is also an issue. If there’s scarcity, overpricing issues arise. The N95 mask is priced at around $6 to $8 per piece. With the pandemic, sellers increase the price up to three folds per piece. Some sellers even ditch buyers once they have received the payment.
With such high demand, it is important for a household to acquire ample storage of N95 masks. They are proven and tested by experts.