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Costco and the COVID-19 Pandemic

It is hard to prevent viral infections. With so many different strains and variations, chances are, everyone has contracted a virus in their lifetime. From a common cold to the lethargic flu this type of pathogen has been plaguing humanity for centuries. Some can be cured by soup and a day in bed but others are deadly and fatal. Unfortunately, COVID-19 represents the latter. And now, you will need an N95 mask and face shields to stop it.

In an interview with Mayo Clinic, Dr. C. Cowl, a licensed pulmonologist, says that what makes COVID 19 so dangerous is the fact that it is new. Compared to other past viruses like colds and influenza, the human body is unprepared for COVID-19. The immune system lacks the immuno-response memory to prepare the best antibodies to combat it. 

Even if a person is not medical or surgical staff, wearing the N95 respirators and a reusable face mask is better than any antiviral treatment. To slow down its devastating pace, experts strongly suggest that protocols for virus protection should be strictly followed. About 23.4 million infected cases and 809 thousand deaths have already been recorded worldwide.

This terrifying statistic only reinforces the importance of always putting on a disposable face mask when in public. But, some individuals are reluctant to do so and are incapable of keeping up with this lifestyle change. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected not only the healthcare sectors but also the very fabric of day to day reality itself.

Societal Effect of COVID-19

Ranking number one, the USA alone has recorded 5.79 million local infections and 179 thousand deaths. 

Holding one-fifth of the worldwide cases, the United States is far from flattening the curve. To counter this invisible enemy; different states along with 50 other countries have issued laws on the compulsory wearing of the N95 mask in crowded places.

In Hong Kong Disneyland, riding the rollercoaster is a blast. But, with the deadly pandemic, putting on an N95 mask and banning screams while riding, takes all the fun out. This may seem silly, but it only goes to show the sacrifices that the public should do to stop the spread of COVID-19.  Affecting all the daily activities, society has yet to adapt to the new normal during this pandemic.

In these troubled times, the populace is expected to limit all social activities and interactions. Besides the wearing of an N95 mask, gatherings that exceed ten people or more than half of the venue’s capacity are prohibited. COVID-19 has put the world at a halt with countries imposing travel bans and restrictions. From hospitals, tourism, education, to local businesses, no one is exempted from this tumultuous time.

Everyday Life with an N95 Mask

Doctors and experts say that stopping the COVID-19 spread needs mass cooperation. It is not only doctors who are obliged to wear the N95 mask and wash their hands but everyone should do so too. Families with kids and the elderly are specially instructed to follow because they are the most vulnerable. According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 targets the demographic with weak immune systems.

Normal life is now altered to lessen the possibility of infection. Kids are attending online classes. Businessmen are letting go of staff. Shops and groceries are turning to logistics companies to deliver goods to homes. Everyone is putting on their N95 mask as part of their outfit.

The N95 mask is now a crucial gear. Like wearing a helmet to prevent injuries, the N95 mask defends a person from the microscopic virus in dust and smoke. However, not everyone gets to have access to the N95 mask. Due to a lack of supplies, more than 230,000 nurses and doctors have been infected by the pandemic. 

Benefits of the N95 Mask

Accompanied by a face shield, goggles, and PPE, the N95 mask is a vital part of the daily apparel of a health worker. To be worn 24/7, they provide the best filter that the doctor needs to protect himself when dealing with infected patients. Due to the nature of the virus that uses droplets as its medium, the N95 mask creates the perfect virus barrier.

Created to specifically sieve 95% of the air that passes through it, the N95 mask uses high-quality nonwoven polypropylene fabric. This material is approved and tested by the FDA and the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), making it the must-have protective gear. Compared to a disposable face mask, the N95 mask has a better fit, feel, and protection.

Now despite the instructions issued by the government on the wearing of face masks, some people are hesitant about abiding by it. All over the country, some individuals still believe that donning on an N95 mask at home might seem like paranoia. However, the ability of the COVID-19 virus to affect the most vulnerable members in the household makes the N95 mask policy even more important.

Due to the outright violations of these simple protocols, some states have been imposing fines and penalties on offenders. On the 21 states and districts that have passed such laws, the demand for the N95 mask has never been higher. However, these mandates also have the citizens worrying whether there would be enough N95 mask supply for the hospitals and themselves.

N95 Mask Retail Industry

Currently valued at USD74.90 billion, the N95 mask manufacturing industry is one of the leading ventures during this pandemic. With the increasing public demand for the N95 mask, online shops and local retailers have started to invest in it. This crucial need has led to the unprecedented rise of unregistered N95 mask shops.

To protect oneself from purchasing counterfeit and ineffective N95 mask, one should make sure that it bears the FDA approval sticker. Furthermore, it should come from a legitimate business outlet that has been permitted by the Federal Trade Commission. When you want to buy in bulk or wholesale stocks of the N95 mask, one of the best online shops is Clinical Supplies USA.

Available at the most affordable prices, Clinical Supplies USA provides a variety of N95 mask types. They also have other products that are sold for sale on holidays. Offering the same size and quality of N95 mask bought from a pharmacy, Clinical Supplies USA ensures medical-grade products.

Distribution of N95 Masks

Mike Roman, CEO of 3M Company, one of the world’s leading N95 mask producers recently released a statement on the presence of his product on the local market scene. In an interview with CNSBC, he expressed disappointment in the hoarding behavior of private citizens. Instead of getting only what they need, some are greedily taking all the stocks, leaving none for health workers and frontliners.

This excerpt came into a new light when experts from the World Health Organization predicted the need for 89 million N95 mask supply worldwide. Considering the 20% decrease of the N95 mask in the country, some experts are now petitioning for banning the N95 mask in local stores. Companies like Home Depot have followed through with this request and has withdrawn the N95 respirator from its shelves.

With the global demand for the N95 mask, legislators have shown concern and talked about imposing laws to conserve the protective gear for hospitals. But, by doing so, some families would also have to face a lot of problems. For homes that have vulnerable elderly and sickly kids, the N95 mask is their best protection from the virus.

Roles of Costco and Other Major Retail Companies

Lack of medical and essential supplies could affect the health sector at a catastrophic level. Without the proper supply, doctors and nurses are reusing their old N95 mask supply and PPE. In order to prevent this from happening, this is where major players in the retail industry step in. With them lies the responsibility to evenly distribute their products to the public and the essential front line workers.

Major conglomerates like Costco and Whole Foods have imposed new policies and changed their opening hours to ensure the safety of their buyers. Costco has also expanded its online shopping option to prevent people from going outside. Whether you are buying groceries or an N95 mask for your family, they prioritize the safety of their customers and employees.

However, with some industries on the rough road, other businesses selling essential goods are highly demanded. Companies like Amazon, Costco, and Clinical Supplies USA, which provide the 3M 8511, 3M 8210, KN95 masks, 3M N95 masks, and 1860 face masks to hospitals are on the rise. The N95 mask industry is emerging as one of the leading businesses in the market.

What has Costco been doing to combat the Coronavirus?

To follow safety protocols like social distancing across the country, Costco has highly endorsed their online shopping option. They offer 2-day delivery services at an affordable rate for any product. The good thing about it is that you do not need to be a member to shop online. With the goal of preventing the spread of COVID-19, they have passed new guidelines for their employees and customers.

Wearing the N95 mask or reusable face mask is now compulsory for all buyers. Checking temperatures and washing one’s hands before entering the store is strictly followed. Making sure that the store is operating at 50% capacity rate, they have created new schedules for elderly members. Considering the economic impact of COVID-19, Costco also promised to regulate its prices on essential goods.

With the intention to help as many people as possible, Costco has also made the InstaCart and online shop available to everyone. To keep up with customer demand, Costco has also hired 300 thousand new employees. This way, during the pandemic they do not only provide goods but also new opportunities.

Costco and their Customers

According to a recent edition of Forrester, Consumer Energy Index, which is the customers’ trust, is at the lowest bar. With the daily infected cases constantly rising, consumers are becoming warier of going outside to access other services. However, despite these hesitations, Costco makes sure that their products are accessible for the consumers.

Compared to other retail shops, Costco is thriving during the pandemic. This is because of the trust and bond they have forged with their customers. During these trying times, they have found new ways to ensure their buyers that they are protected from the virus. By putting sanitation booths in every entrance, safety practices are ramped up and strictly imposed.

To cater to the needs of vulnerable elders, only consumers who are aged 60 and above are allowed to shop during Tuesdays and Thursdays. Costco is also able to keep its prices in control despite the crisis by offering their own personal and local products. This includes their Signature Wine, toilet papers, disinfectants, and more!

Costco's history with selling (and not selling) N95 masks

In the year 2020, people are not lining up for the latest Birkin or Prada bag. Instead, people are frantic and crazed for the search for their N95 mask! With this pandemic going on, the N95 mask supply is becoming a basic necessity. But, there is no need to worry since Costco got its customers covered.

Now, before the pandemic, Costco has always been selling face masks in their stores. The face masks were only made of fabric and were occasionally available. But, with the pandemic affecting daily life, Costco has decided to partner up with trusted companies and offer medical-grade face masks and the N95 mask to customers. Simply put, Costco is no longer a reliable destination for folks wondering where to buy N95 masks.

For a more eco-friendly option, Costco offers cloth masks that can be washed and reused. But, they also sell disposable face mask packs for only $25. With 8 masks inside, you can use them for almost two months when you go grocery shopping once a week. In order to help South Korea during the surge of new cases in their country, Costco also extended their help by importing face masks and protective equipment.