Shortage of Face Masks Leads CDC to Loosen the Coronavirus Recommendations
The scarcity of specialized masks has led the federal health officials to slack the coronavirus recommendations regarding masks for face protection. It was mandatory for the frontline healthcare workers to wear masks in order to prevent infection caused due to contagious novel coronavirus.
Regarding the use of specialized masks, N95 respirators, on Tuesday, CDC introduced new guidelines that stated “the supply chain of respirators cannot meet demand” and the normal surgical face masks “are an acceptable alternative.” Instead of suggesting the healthcare workers use the masks, the officials have asked the workers to use surgical masks as an alternative.
The specialized N95 masks are best to prevent infection caused due to naval coronavirus. The mask is able to filter around 95 percent of airborne particles, but the shortage has led the federal health officials to loosen the guidance regarding the use of face masks.
The surgical masks can limit the infectious particles but can not eliminate the probabilities of inhaling infectious and large particles that circulate near the face. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, the changes are encouraged as a result of the shortage of N95 respirator masks.
The CDC is suggesting to reserve the N95 respirator for the workers working in the riskiest situation. The guidelines of the CDC also suggest that the healthcare facilities should consider using alternatives to N95 masks like better air-purifying respirators.
The response of the Government regarding the outbreak of coronavirus in the US has highlighted it as one of the biggest gaps in the country in preparedness for fighting the virus responsible for covid-19.
Alex Azhar, the Health and Human Service Secretary, has said that the United States possesses approximately 1 percent of the 3.5 billion respirators that would be needed by the healthcare experts for a year to handle a acute influenza pandemic. That means 30 million surgical masks and 12 million N95 respirators. He further said that 5 million N95 respirators might be expired.
Officials of federal health have made the announcement to purchase 500 million N95 masks over the coming 18 months for the purpose of the stockpile. The purchasing of N95 respirators is determined as an attempt to maximize personal protective equipment’s availability for front line healthcare workers.
Regarding the briefing of the task force for coronavirus, Vice President Pence said that the administration is in favor of the legislation that “would extend temporary liability protections, so [N95] masks made for industrial use could be sold so hospital workers could be protected.” Pence further said that such a measure would enhance the availability of N95 masks.