Topic: Supplies of N95 masks running low as COVID-19 surges
Some health care facilities in the U.S. lack sufficient supplies of face masks as COVID-19 cases surge across the country and manufacturers work overtime to ramp up production of personal protective equipment.
The U.S. on Wednesday set a new high for daily coronavirus cases, with more than 100,000 new infections and at least 16 states also breaking records for the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Thursday saw more than 120,000 cases, a 20% spike in just one day.
Makers of so-called N95 masks — regarded as the most effective tool for protection against airborne droplets — are struggling to keep up with demand from hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities, as well as businesses in other sectors that now require them to protect workers and the public.
3M Company, the largest domestic manufacturer of N95 masks — which filter out least 95% of very small particles, including viruses — told CBS MoneyWatch that “U.S. and global demand for PPE continues to far exceed supply for the entire industry.”
Some of 3M’s health care clients are using 20 times the amount of PPE they needed before the pandemic, a company spokesperson said. 3M is also fielding requests for respirators from new clients that have never used them before. Some suppliers report a jump in sales in states where COVID-19 cases are rising.
3M’s monthly production of N95 respirators in the U.S. alone will have increased from 22 million in 2019 to 95 million by the end of 2020, a spokesperson said. Globally, by the end of 2020, the company will have produced 2 billion respirators.
Topic Discussed: Supplies of N95 masks running low as COVID-19 surges