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Top 3 Things to Know About the PPE Crisis Now

By December 3, 2020No Comments
There’s a lot of misinformation about COVID equipment, known as personal protective equipment (PPE), right now as COVID cases rise. Luckily, the experts at Get Us PPE can help you separate fact from fiction.

#1: Healthcare workers are still facing dangerous, severe PPE shortages.

If you’ve seen the recent news about the PPE crisis, you might be thinking, “I can buy surgical masks online, so how can there be a PPE shortage?” Truth is: Health care workers and other people at the frontlines of COVID need government-approved, medical-grade PPE to stay safe.

Much of the PPE on the market is not approved and there’s no easy way to tell if it’s counterfeit.

Medical-grade PPE is still expensive, with N95s selling around $5-7 per mask when they’re available and supplies frequently selling out.

#2: Some supply chain experts are saying that almost everyone has 30+ days’ supply of PPE in hand—unfortunately, this is not true. We need billions more pieces of PPE. 

Why is there a discrepancy between what Get Us PPE and others are reporting? Federal, state, and local authorities are not collecting data from a large percentage of the people and facilities that need PPE, such as healthcare workers in clinics, group homes, detention facilities, homeless shelters, social services, home healthcare, schools, and much more.

Non-hospital facilities account for >90% of shortages we’re seeing at Get Us PPE. Many supply chain experts are also vastly underestimating PPE “burn rates”, which is a way to calculate how quickly health care workers go through a batch of PPE if they’re using it safely.

#3: Get Us PPE hears stories every day of health care workers reusing N95s for weeks at a timeor running out of PPE entirely. 

Over 70% of facilities that have registered with Get Us PPE report they have no supply remaining of one or more types of PPE. We’ve received requests for 22 million pieces of PPE just to fill one week’s worth of needand this is just based on information reported to Get Us PPE, a small, 8-month-old nonprofit. It’s a tiny snapshot of full national need.

Finally, Get Us PPE often hears from health care workers whose workplaces won’t allow them to speak out about their lack of PPE, silencing the very people who could tell us about the shortages they’re facing. However, Get Us PPE is pleased that some groups in MassachusettsNew YorkKansas City, and D.C. are taking to the streets to protest the lack of PPE in their facilities.