Should you donate surgical masks or N95 masks?

Donating the N95 masks and surgical masks call for a lot of debate, and here is our take on it.

The year 2020 came like any other year, but then the year has etched some of the worst memories in our hearts. The year 2020 will popularly be known as the year of coronavirus pandemic. It has changed our lives completely. The coronavirus has taught us about the different types of sanitizers, masks, and the meaning of the term quarantine. A virus has interrupted the flow of our lives and compelled us to stay home. The year has given us a stern reminder that we need to follow a code of ethics in life and place others over our selfish goals. The virus has claimed millions of lives and left many without food, shelter, job, and savings. Thus, the year has been devastating yet has helped us understand the value of staying united during the pandemic.

It is a major crisis, and there has been a scarcity of food, sanitizer, and most definitely masks. Coronavirus has made the use of masks a compulsion. Different types of masks are to be used as per their specific use. The FDA has announced that the doctors and nurses required N95 masks to protect themselves while tending the patients suffering from COVID-19. The medical experts could also use surgical masks in place of N95 masks, as the latter is scarce. Both the masks were limited and were meant for one-time use only. However, the mask’s scarcity made the medical fraternity use the disposable N95 and surgical masks again and again. It is not fair, and as our moral responsibility, we need to ensure that the common masses should use cloth masks for protecting themselves and slow the spread of viruses. 

The coronavirus cases are increasing in all parts of the world. The doctors and nurses are not getting the tools or N95 masks that can protect them from the harsh attack of the viruses while tending the COVID-19 patients. The government, hospitals, doctors, and nurses are continuously asking and requesting the people to donate them the N95 or surgical masks. The news and social media have multiple posts where there is an outrage in the doctors and nurses because of the mask's unavailability. There is a situation of anxiety in people's minds and people despite continuous reminders from the FDA that the surgical masks and N95 respirators are meant only for the medical experts.    

We have been in a year of the pandemic, yet the production of the masks could not be boosted to meet the ever growing need for the masks. The lockdown phase hampered production; the companies manufacturing masks had to remain closed, resulting in a scarcity of N95 and surgical masks. Even when production started, it was not easy to increase production as COVID-19 norms like working with a limited workforce or working for limited hours were followed. Also, the companies are not willing to increase production as they fear that once the pandemic is over, N95 masks will subside, and this will result in huge losses for the companies. Thus the companies are not increasing the production. Several companies that were not from the field also started producing N95 masks; still, they could not meet the growing demand for the N95 masks. Thus even during times of uncertainty, they made huge investments and made the masks that could prove helpful for the medical personnel. The companies have donated thousands of masks and proved that they are true to humanity. Thus as common people, we owe it to the doctors, frontline workers, nurses, and emergency responders. We cannot avoid the situation but definitely help them by giving them access to the N95 masks.

What should you donate N95 or surgical masks? 

It has been stated by the World Health Organization (WHO) the scientists have confirmed that N95 and other respirators masks are far superior to surgical or cloth masks in protecting essential medical workers against coronavirus. It states clearly that the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that essential workers like doctors, nurses, and emergency responders should use N95 masks and not the regular surgical masks. The doctors and nurses were exposed to the risk of fighting the virus without the masks while serving the patients. From various researches, it is concluded that using a specific type of N95 mask is required by the health care and essential workers in a wide range of industries as they are at a greater risk of exposure to Covid-19. The doctors and nurses need the N95 masks, but if its now available surgical masks can be used, safety is compromised. Therefore it is better to donate the N95 masks rather than surgical masks.  

Many doctors were infected and even succumbed to the deadly virus. The doctors and nurses were forced to use the single-use mask repeatedly, and this was an injustice. Thus whatever masks are available, it should first be made available to the doctors, nurses, emergency responders, and the essential service providers as we owe it to them. Therefore, connect with companies are dealers listed on the NIOSH’s list and donate the N95 masks to the frontline workers. Connect with the companies and help them with the production of masks and ask them to donate the N95 masks on your behalf. We need to understand that the doctors and nurses are our asset and protecting them is of prime importance. 

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