COVID-19 is a new respiratory disease that has caused a pandemic for the majority of this year. With over eight months of being inside our homes, wearing face masks, and using hand sanitizer, it’s safe to say we’ve become accustomed to our new normality. But, face masks have certainly been the center of attention this year, particularly N95 masks.

3M has stepped up as the main supplier of this item both inside the United States and around the world. N95 masks have been necessary for the protection of healthcare workers since the beginning of the year, but they’ve also been scarce, which is why 3M’s increase in production has been of great help.

In their third quarter financial report, this is reflected. Keep reading to find out more about how the pandemic has affected 3M’s finances.

N95 masks and why 3M is increasing their production

N95 respirators are disposable face masks with a much higher filtration rate than other types of face masks. They offer a tighter fit around the face, and their filter material can provide the mask with antiviral properties. They’ve been the best face mask for virus protection during the pandemic, and anyone who uses them is getting the most protection there is available at the moment.

Respirators are mask or mask-like devices that cover the nose and mouth with a filter material, trapping harmful particles and preventing the user from inhaling them. These are part of the PPE (personal protective equipment) in a wide variety of work fields where respiratory hazards, which are dangerous particles that could lead to serious health issues, are present.

N95 masks are respirators that are not resistant to oil and can filter at least 95% of airborne particles. This makes them effective against particles that don’t contain oil, like the flu virus, the coronavirus, and dust or smoke. Even though they’re usually not worn in medical centers, with the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve become a necessary item for all healthcare workers.

Since January, the production of 3M N95 masks has been doubled amid the coronavirus pandemic. Healthcare workers need this item to work, and they’ve been scarce since this situation started at the beginning of the year. As an American company, 3M has been focusing on supplying the USA with N95 masks, as well as importing them from overseas. Their next goal is to reach the production of 2 billion N95 masks per year globally, to meet the needs of the pandemic and ease the shortages around the world.

The pandemic and N95 masks

The new species of coronavirus, the SARS-CoV-2, that’s been causing the pandemic for most of this year, was first recognized in December of last year in Wuhan, China. Now, over six months later, our daily lives have changed incredibly, with social distancing rules, home offices, face masks, and hand sanitizer ruling our lives.

The disease has been called COVID-19, which means “coronavirus disease 2019”, is mainly a respiratory illness that is known to be, in the majority of the cases, either asymptomatic or very mild. The most common symptoms include dry cough, sore throat, and muscle pain. In a smaller group of people, however, the disease can be very severe, and these people need to be protected the most.

Among the most vulnerable, we can name older people, immunocompromised patients, and people with comorbidities like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and any type of organ failure. In these people, symptoms can be more severe, and complications like thrombosis, severe lung injury, or multi-organ failure, are much more probable.

Needless to say, even though the size of the percentage of more serious cases is smaller, a lot of people getting infected at once makes this more concerning. If we want to prevent healthcare centers from getting overwhelmed and collapsing, and people from dying, everyone should wear a face mask in public, including kids. And N95 respirators, as we explained, need to be prioritized for healthcare personnel.

The results from 3M’s third quarter financial report

3M has been the main manufacturer and distributor of N95 masks during the pandemic, and their financial report reflects how they benefited from the increased demand for their healthcare items. The demand for their 3M N95 respirators, including the 3M 8210 and 3M 8511, is expected to still be present in the fourth quarter according to the company executives. They added that they were on track to reach their goal of producing 2 billion N95 masks by the end of the year.

The company’s four main businesses’ sales rose, but the healthcare unit had a 25.5% jump, which accounted for over a quarter of their total sales. 3M’s biggest unit is safety and industrial, with a rise of 6.9%. Their transportation and electronics unit’s revenue fell 7.4%, reflecting the negative impact the pandemic had on markets like oil, gas, advertising, and hospitality, caused by the social distancing rules and the new normality of working from home.

This shows just how much the pandemic has affected each part of our lives. While 3M thrived with their production of healthcare supplies and PPE, especially N95 masks, the report also shows how much the pandemic also caused a decrease in other units of the company because of the social distancing rules.

Whether it’s surgical, reusable, or KN95 masks, paired or not with face shields, you can buy any type of protective equipment online. You can find options to buy in bulk or wholesale too, so there’s no excuse to not be protected in public. 

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