The United States is considered as the most powerful country in the world. Yet, they lost their power against Covid-19. There have been over a million cases and counting for their covid-19 positives. This exponentially growing number can be associated with the lack of supply for the N95 mask.
Why is the US short of the N95 mask?
Despite having the world’s leading companies for N95 masks, the United States experiences a shortage for the N95 mask. There have been six reasons why the N95 mask is running short in the United States:
- The country’s Defense Production Act towards the N95 mask was not fully utilized. Potential manufacturers of the N95 mask were not funded.
- Hospitals went cutting their costs. There were no stockpiles for the N95 mask.
- The Health and Human Services did not buy the machine that was said to create 1.5 million pieces of the N95 mask.
- Healthcare workers began worrying about their N95 mask supplies by the time the US already reported 8,000 cases.
- The US government did not guarantee buying the N95 mask.
- Manufacturers of the N95 mask secured their creation process to themselves.
What does the shortage mean to the global healthcare system?
The shortage for the N95 mask poses a great threat to the US healthcare systems. Although there are countries which are capable of putting a stop to the rising cases, still it is not enough. The N95 mask serves as a primary defense among healthcare workers. The shortage of the N95 mask means a great risk. With the shortage of the N95 mask, more cases for covid-19 will add. This time, more from healthcare workers.
Luckily, there are generous people who have responded to the need for N95 masks. There are several companies who have donated pieces of the N95 mask and in the neighboring countries as well. These companies initiated the donation in response to the worldwide shortage for the N95 mask.
- Apple donated 9 million pieces of N95 masks to health facilities across the country and to the national stockpile. This is by far the largest donation of N95 masks since March.
- Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, donated 720,000 pieces of the N95 mask. This is an initial donation in response to the wildfires that struck the state of California.
- Goldman Sachs was reported to have donated 100,000 pieces of the N95 mask to hospitals of New York and New Jersey. The company has donated 50,000 pieces of the N95 mask in the United Kingdom. A representative of Goldman Sachs said that they have worked with hospitals in California and Utah, depending on their needs due to acute supply.
Recently, an ice rink company named Johnstown has donated 180,000 pieces of the N95 mask to first responders of Cambria County in Pennsylvania. This donation drive came from the company’s resources.
What do these donations mean?
It only means one thing; greater benefit. The N95 mask is widely known as the most effective mask to be worn during these times. The N95 mask is capable of filtering particles up to 95%. With the N95 mask tight seal, this prevents microorganisms from entering the system.
The donations give people working on the frontlines a greater advantage of getting protection. With more N95 masks, people working on the frontlines are more secured and can efficiently provide service to people.
What contributed to the shortage for N95 masks?
The shortage of the N95 mask can be attributed to a number of reasons. These reasons have been built over time even before the pandemic came to the scene.
In the year 2019, about 70 million tons of pollutants were released to the air. Aside from filtering strains of viruses and bacteria, the N95 mask is also capable of filtering dust, smoke, smog and other tiny particles that can endanger the lungs of humanity. Not only that, the N95 mask is also capable of protecting the wearer from volatile and harmful chemicals. Earlier this year, wildfires emerged across the globe along with some volcanic eruptions.
The pandemic greatly contributes to the shortage of the N95 mask in the United States alone. Coronavirus is a deadly virus that is why the N95 mask is needed for it helps lessen the transmission. People from all walks of life buy the N95 mask due to the protection it offers.
Reports about looting and price gouging of the N95 mask have circulated. Several people have been found out guilty of the deed.
What have been the actions of the CDC so far?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had established several practices pertaining to the extension of use and restricted reusability of the N95 mask. The term “Extension” pertains to the utilization of the N95 mask for an even longer period without donning or doffing the mask. Also, the extension of utility of the N95 mask is suitable to occasions where attending physicians and nurses encounter patients with similar respiratory conditions. This extension of utility is advised as an alternative in preserving masks like the N95 mask in times of a respiratory outbreak.
The term “Reuse” pertains to the removal of the N95 mask every after patient interaction. Proper donning (putting on) and doffing (removal) of the used N95 mask must be observed at all times. After doffing the N95 mask, the mask must be put in a storage container with a label as to how many times the mask has been used. The N95 mask can be reused up to five times. It is a restricted reuse because the N95 mask is not supposed to be reused. The N95 mask is good for one-time utility and must be disposed properly once used.