It is no secret that there are critical shortages of N95 masks across the globe. These types of masks are crucial as doctors and nurses depend on them to protect them from COVID-19. During the onset of the pandemic, N95 masks were in quite short supply that healthcare officials were reusing them for days, which means they were not following the proper protocol of discarding them after a single-use.
Today, after almost a year since the outbreak of the novel virus, there is still a shortage of N95 masks. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 60% of the nurses surveyed said they are re-using their N95 masks for at least five days.
Today, hospitals and other entities, including governments are still having difficulty in obtaining N95 masks as they did during the early stages of the pandemic, leaving healthcare providers and other first health responders exposed and patients at risk of contracting the virus. The scarcity has not ceased. Please visit this site to learn more about which masks are FDA approved and where to get them.
But why is this mask crucial and why is it still in shortage? First, it is important to note that N95 masks are among the masks that offer the best protection. These masks can filter out both small and large particles when you breathe. Its name ‘N95’ is derived from its ability to block almost 95% of particles and liquids that may come into contact with your face.
This type of mask is made of a number of fine polypropylene fibers, which use static electric power to trap outgoing and incoming particles and droplets.
But what could be causing the huge shortage of N95 masks? Here are some of the possible reasons why there are inadequate N95 masks on the market.
- Several hospitals have cut costs by using medical supply firms to provide equipment on an ‘as-needed’ basis instead of creating a stockpile of PPE [personal protective equipment] since they thought that they could rely on the government to create a stockpile filled with PPE.
- The government has not been able to use the Defense Production Act on N95 masks the way it did when it comes to ventilators.
- N95 mask manufacturers are unsure of investing too much money to boost production since there is no long-term guarantee that the government will continue to buy respirators.
- In 2018, the HHS funded the invention of the machine that could produce up to 1.5 million N95 masks per day, but when the design was completed, the government never purchased it. Otherwise, if the government had bought the machine, there would be enough N95 masks in the market today.
While the global pandemic is far from over, we can only hope that the government and private entities could find ways to ensure that there are enough N95 masks on the market. These masks play an essential role in preventing the spread of coronavirus. The masks will help healthcare providers and other first medical responders do their job without having to worry about contracting the virus.