The troubles of the pandemic have not subsided yet and taking all the necessary precautions is the only way to attempt to go back to normalcy. Wearing masks and maintaining a healthy six-foot distance are the most important steps towards curbing the effects of the pandemic.
The United States And N95 Masks: A Struggle
A year ago, there was a lot of panic for acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE) and the best quality N95 masks but now a year later everything seems settled. The initial days of the pandemic exposed our vulnerabilities and doctors and health care workers were forced to reuse N95 masks.
Many people came forward in resolving the problems of mask shortage and one of them was a healthcare professional or a chiropractor named Brian Wolin who had the experience of 22 years. He along with his brother-in-law pledged to make N95 masks for the community. This was a worthy step and a much-needed contribution in times of dire need for solutions for a ‘pandemic problem’. Other American manufacturers also contributed and they now have a surplus supply of N95 face masks.
But, all the surplus quantities of masks are sitting in the warehouses and are not being shipped to places where they are required. Every manufacturer is facing the same difficulties as they are not receiving the monetary benefits from their produce. They are finding it hard to make their ends meet as buyers are not approaching them.
Does this mean that we don’t need masks anymore? Well, it certainly should not. The pandemic caused by the SARS COV-2 virus has not ended and experts could not stress enough. The virus is continuously mutating and has changed its form in different terrains.
Vaccinations are out and about but it is not enough. The effectiveness of the vaccine depends on how healthy one’s immune system is. Not everyone reacts the same to a vial of vaccine. But, masks are worn physically and can be worn as a mode of precaution by anyone. That is why the supply of masks needs to be maintained for protection from the virus.
N95 masks are the most reliable as they stop the air molecules of the coronavirus from infecting the other individual. More than 95% of the air droplets are stopped by the N95 masks. It is one of the most important Personal Protective equipment for healthcare and frontline workers as they are the ones who are working tirelessly in the most contaminated environment. The US Food and Drug Administration had eased restrictions on the usage of N95 masks when the pandemic was emerging.
After passing all the checks and quality tests, Wolin’s company was all set to ship consignments directly to the healthcare professionals and covid centers. Wolin was amazed to notice that the demand was way less than anticipated. His company was producing only half the capacity of masks and still, there was enough to supply. He said. “Demand was not surplus and that is why he started mask manufacturing. It turns out there was surplus for everyone, the problem arose when the buyers were not approaching the sellers.”
It is difficult for the manufacturers to get in touch with government facilities or buyers even after they have been approved quality-wise. The boxes are packed and ready but are in the warehouse waiting for buyers.
There is still a high demand for Personal protective equipment and masks. More than 65% of the healthcare centers across the country required protective equipment in the last month.
The problem should be sorted immediately and the broken demand and supply chain should be mended.