edical Equipment Shortages Create Critical Risk on COVID-19 Front Line
Suppliers exist, but face challenges connecting with Hospitals in dire need of their products
Healthcare workers depend on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect themselves against infections especially during a pandemic such as the COVID-19 outbreak, but don’t think that the U.S. National Stockpile will fulfill the current needs. The WHO modeling estimates that 89 million medical masks, 1.6 million goggles and 76 million gloves will be required for the international COVID-19 response on a monthly basis. “The Department of Health and Human Services said last week that the (national) stockpile has about 12 million N95 respirators and 30 million surgical masks – a scant 1 percent of the estimated 3.5 billion masks the nation would need in a severe pandemic. Another 5 million N95 masks in the stockpile are expired.”
The CDC initially advised healthcare workers to use the higher-grade protective mask known as the N95 respirator, but recently changed that notice to say that “in the absence of those respirators, regular surgical masks with eye protection is an acceptable alternative”
A nurse from a Boston hospital said that the CDC’s change of position isn’t based on science but rather based on a lack of the N95 mask and she feels like “we’re standing in front of a firing squad holding up cardboard boxes.” In China, the doctor that originally raised the alarm about COVID-19, Dr. Li Wenliang, died after contracting the virus along with more than 3,300 healthcare workers. In Italy over 4,800 health care workers have been infected.
It’s difficult to foresee what’s in store for the U.S. as it barrels towards its own crisis in care and the only way we can hope to prevent a similar problem is to provide front line workers with the N95 masks and other PPE’s they need. WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebrreyesus said “without secure supply chains the risk to healthcare workers around the world is real. Industries and governments must act quickly to boost supply, ease export restrictions and put measures in place to stop speculation and hoarding. We can’t stop COVID-19 without protecting healthcare workers first.”
Meanwhile, supplies DO exist in the US and Internationally and FEMA will reimburse states for any PPE’s bought during this national emergency. FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor said: “What I’ll say is if you can find it on the open market, go buy it, any governor that needs it, and you find it, go buy it. FEMA will reimburse you under this emergency.” However, buyers are still overwhelmed and having trouble locating suppliers that are trustworthy with access to inventory. There’s still hope, as there are multiple suppliers worldwide that still can deliver N95 face masks and other PPE’s. One such supplier, Icann Health, has N95 respirators, medical face masks, hand sanitizer, eye protection, gowns, gloves and more available. Richard Diamond, Icann’s CEO commented, “I’ve never seen this kind of panic but as COVID-19 expands, our company is prepared and ready to help fight the front line battle.”
Icann Health is a leading US company focused on the distribution of medical supplies and Personal Protective Equipment. With our experienced team of professionals, we have a large supply of needed protective equipment that can be delivered quickly.
Center for Disease Control – https://www.cdc.gov/
The World Health Organization – https://www.who.int/