With coronavirus cases on the rise, the need for personal protective equipment, such as face masks, is increasing. Unfortunately, the supplies are drying up.
According to a survey by the United States Conference of Mayors, cities need an estimated 28.5 million face masks and 24.4 million other pieces of personal protective equipment. Healthcare specialists across the country have reported dire shortages of respirators, masks, gowns, and other supplies needed to protect both patients and healthcare workers. According to a survey by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, 37% of health care workers assessing and treating COVID-19 reported that they were almost out of face shields, and 26% said they were almost out of hand sanitizer.
Nursing homes are also facing drastic shortages. A survey of nursing homes and assisted living facilities found that personal protective equipment, as well as disinfecting supplies, are scarce. Approximately two-thirds of the facilities reported having little or no ability to purchase personal protective equipment, including face masks, sterile gowns, face shields, hand sanitizer, wipes, and disinfectant sprays. Almost one-third reported having no N95 masks, which provide a higher level of protection than surgical masks. One Washington facility even had to resort to using plastic garbage bags to make gowns. Considering nursing homes are emerging as a focus of heightened concern during the pandemic, their staff need protective equipment to prevent the spread of coronavirus.