The Philadelphia Inquirer: Hospitals are still rationing N95 coronavirus masks as stockpiles swell

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Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, the supply and demand for N95 have been largely stabilized; however, there are still dramatic discrepancies in the allotted number of masks across different states. Why is that after a year of battling the virus, warehouses in Texas are drowning in piles of medical-grade N95 face masks, but an ICU nurse in Minneapolis is still holding out to a single disposable N-95 respirator for the entirety of her shift? These logistical issues are deeply rooted in the federal failures to effectively coordinate the supply chains. There is an evident lack of universal PPE protocols and guidelines about the management of medical equipment. Many hospitals are building their stockpiles over fears of a future surge, and restricting the number given directly to health care workers, forcing them to reuse sanitized N95 masks for extended periods, ultimately diminishing the masks ‘efficacy at filtering out the virus. Read the full article here

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