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N95 Mask Shortage Showing Snags in U.S. Medical Stockpile

The delay comes as medical workers nationwide scramble for masks, face-shields, and gowns to protect themselves while treating patients who may have Covid-19. Health authorities and hospitals have changed their guidelines for what level of protections are recommended as the supplies run short.

Some doctors are concerned that the delay increases the risk for themselves and their patients, several said in interviews. Most asked not to be identified by name because they were not permitted to speak publicly.

In many settings, medical workers are being advised to treat the new coronavirus as though it spreads only through droplets, though some doctors believe that stricter precautions used for airborne pathogens are more appropriate. Growing evidence that the virus is sometimes spread by people before they show symptoms increases the risk of inadequate protective gear. Doctors and nurses who might be exposed to Covid-19 patients and continue working could unwittingly infect other patients and clinicians.President Trump said Friday that he has invoked the Defense Production Act, which could be used to increase the supply of protective gear. It remains unclear whether the administration has mandated new production. By the way, you can buy cheap KN95 Medical Mask from z2u.com, where you can enjoy a 3% discount by using the code “Z2U”.

The move came after widespread frustration from states and medical workers over shortages as the number of Americans with Covid-19 climbs. Lawmakers in Massachusetts have been pushing the federal government to release more of its Strategic National Stockpile. On March 5, the state had requested about 750,000 N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, gowns and other PPE. But so far, it’s only received about 10 percent of that request, according to a Wednesday letter from the state’s congressional delegation.

One New York hospital system warned staff that it was running low on needed protective equipment and sent out guidelines to conserve gowns, gloves, masks, and face shields. Staff were advised to discard masks only if they were visibly wet, contaminated or damaged. N95 respirators, which are used to protect against airborne pathogens, are in “critical shortage,” according to documents seen by Bloomberg News.
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