Over the course of the pandemic, the marketplace for vetted, medical-grade PPE has been very difficult to navigate, particularly for small and underserved communities with smaller procurement budgets. Counterfeit PPE and price gouging have been rife as demand surged past need, so much so that the Department of Justice announced the formation of a COVID-19 Fraud Task Force in May 2021.
While it is recommended for unvaccinated individuals to wear masks to protect one’s mouth, nose, and throat from getting infected with the coronavirus, health care professionals who work in medium to high exposure settings are also recommended to wear eye protection, such as face shields and safety goggles to limit eye exposure to air-borne respiratory droplets.
Despite the availability of vaccines, we should continue masking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 until more people are vaccinated. In this article, Get Us PPE looks at different masking options and when each option is appropriate.
N95 masks continue to be in short supply for hospitals and other healthcare professionals despite an excess supply. Meanwhile, PPE sold on WhatsApp, a popular messaging app, has allowed sellers to gouge prices despite a federal crackdown on the practice.
Loosened FDA restrictions allowed new manufacturers to supply the demand for hand sanitizer when the pandemic broke out. But months after, several of these new products have been recalled, with the FDA issuing a list of products consumers should not use.
With the recent Op-eds and media outlet reports regarding new, and highly transmissible, variants of COVID-19, N95 masks have become a highly sought form of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers and the public alike. But who should wear N95 masks?
A shift in the N95 masks supply-demand chain has caused a disconnect between emerging PPE manufacturers and the healthcare workers that need the life-saving equipment as the nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
A study found prolonged mask-wearing–specifically, the prolonged use of N95 masks–negatively affected hospital workers, causing headaches, acne and skin breakdown, and impaired cognition.
Dr. Ali Raja is Executive Vice-Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. He is a co-founder of Get Us PPE, a nonprofit that gets personal protective equipment (PPE) to those who need it most.