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PPE Data

January PPE Shortage Index: Increased Need, Prices Remain High

By February 23, 2021No Comments

Get Us PPE’s January PPE Shortage Index shows healthcare workers still lack adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) like N95 masks, nitrile gloves, and disinfectant wipes. The need is such that healthcare workers are still reusing N95 masks and gloves, putting their lives and their patients’ lives at risk. Additionally, new data on PPE prices shows the price of N95 masks and nitrile gloves has shot up since the pandemic. 

PPE Shortages Continue in Hospitals and Non-Hospital Facilities

Get Us PPE saw a 48% increase in PPE requests between  December 2020 and this past January. Only 14% of PPE requests came from hospitals. Requests for PPE from other facilities remain alarmingly high, at 86% of our total requests.

Our index shows a breakdown of the types of organizations that are still facing an urgent need for PPE, including schools, nursing homes, pharmacies, home health agencies, non-hospital emergency healthcare, and many other groups in need. Frontline workers in these groups and more are still putting their health and even their lives at risk because of PPE shortages.


Tree map chart: Types of Facilities Requesting PPE November 2020 to January 2021

Types of Facilities Requesting PPE November 2020 to January 2021

N95 Masks and Nitrile Gloves’ Price Hikes

The index also sheds light on the cost of N95 masks and nitrile gloves. Large hospital systems can find N95s at relatively inexpensive prices because they can order in bulk from suppliers they know. But small facilities and individual healthcare workers are paying an average of $4-7 per N95, 13 times the pre-pandemic price. 

The January Get Us PPE Shortage Index does more to break down the continued need for PPE in the United States and shows the types of healthcare and other frontline facilities requesting PPE most and the most requested items. 


N95 masks price changes pre-pandemic vs. now reflect a 1,300% price increase.


The average price of a pair of nitrile gloves has also increased up to 600%.

January Shortage Index Key Takeaways

  • Requests for PPE increased by 48% between December 2020 and January 2021.
  • Out of facilities in need of N95s in January, 86% reported they reuse N95s, often for a week or more. 82% of facilities in need of nitrile gloves were forced to reuse gloves because of shortages.
  • Price gouging of PPE remains an issue. The average cost for a single N95 mask before the pandemic was $0.40. Now it is $4-7. The average cost for a pair of nitrile gloves before the pandemic was $0.05. Now it is $0.30-0.40 — a 600% price increase.
  • Our data shows that a wide range of frontline facilities across many sectors urgently need PPE, but the previous administration collected data only on PPE needs in hospitals and long-term care facilities.

The index also contains a new version of a map that was included in the Biden Administration’s National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness. 

Get Us PPE has received 20,845 total individual requests for PPE since late March of 2020. Unfortunately, the demand for PPE still far outweighs the limited supply nationally, but Get Us PPE has been able to fill less than 15% of all requests.

To better optimize and equitably distribute these scarce resources, a team of supply chain management experts has developed a Fair Distribution Algorithm. This is the first AI matching algorithm that optimizes efficiency and equity in distributing scarce resources in a crisis.

If you are an individual or facility that has requested PPE from us in the past, we ask that you continue to update your requests with us, so we can best match and provide you with the PPE resources you need as this PPE crisis continues to evolve. 

Please help us get PPE to communities at risk. A $5 donation can supply an N95 for a healthcare worker.

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Katherine Hurley