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Calling All People Who Sew And Make: You Can Help Make Masks For 2020 Healthcare Worker PPE Shortage

Rally is probably not the right word. A significant movement, perhaps even a revolution of epic noble intentions, is underway in hackerspaces, makerspaces, and sewing groups to come together and solve a problem to save lives at risk with the Coronavirus.

You can help. Today, right now. Are you sitting in your apartment or house in some sort of state-wide lockdown? You can do something to help others. People of all ages and walks of life are diving in to make a difference. Check out some of these amazing initiatives, both small and large:

Joost De Cock (Old Dutch for “The Cook”) started the FreeSewing Open Source Project from his home in the Netherlands to provide free sewing patterns. Recently, his wife who is a surgeon started seeing potential shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE). Joost knew what to do, so he posted it to FreeSewing in late February. People thought he was being silly as a handmade mask would never be used by professionals. (I love the brand for FreeSewing.org, by the way.)

But he was onto something when he posted: Calling all makers: Here’s a 1-page PDF facemask pattern; Now go make some and help beat this thing. I took inspiration from Joost’s call for help in the writing of my headline. Shoutout also to Katelyn Bowden who shared Joost’s post. It is her workshop photo above and she has been cranking out the DIY masks. She calls herself a “reluctant hacker” and also runs a nonprofit to help image abuse victims. She pointed me to a bunch of different resources.

If you think that a handmade mask cannot be used, think again. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a place for them — in times of crisis, like the one we are in right now. On the CDC page: Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Facemasks, they explain that as a last resort, a homemade mask is acceptable. Frankly, we are at that stage right now. Here’s how they explain it in the Crisis Strategy section, When No Facemasks Are Available, Options Include:

“Healthcare personnel (HCP) use of homemade masks:

In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.

It is possible that the government and manufacturers will ramp up in a wartime-like effort, but the reinforcement is more likely to come from the people. Millions of masks are needed. People are starting to make them and it is going to be a big deal.

Clearly, there is a shortage of the manufactured N95 respirator. You know this. Healthcare workers know this. If you have been hoarding them, let me cut to the chase — there are people and organizations who need your extras and you can do the right thing and donate them. Get in touch with Holly Figueroa O’Reilly on Twitter — she is organizing the distribution of masks. Karen Booth is another person listing out different projects as she starts making masks herself. Follow the hashtags #millionmaskchallenge and #millionmaskmayday and scroll through and you will find programs and projects around the USA and world.

People like Joost, Katelyn, Holly, and Karen are bringing enormous good into the world. When I asked Joost why he was doing this FreeSewing project, he pointed me to his Pledge page where he explains that all the funds that come into the project are donated to Doctors Without Borders. All of it. Why? He pointed me to that page again: “I don’t know if you’re familiar with the phrase ‘noblesse oblige’ but it essentially means that privilege entails responsibility.” Then said, “I mean every word of it.”

Makers, hackers, craftspeople are awesome. Coronavirus does not stand a chance. Tweet, tweet.


Additional Resources for Open Source or Volunteer COVID-19 Projects:

One of my favorite how-to sites is Instructables. The DIY Cloth Face Mask has almost 100,000 views. It is a step-by-step instruction for those who need it. Kudos to ashevillejm.

In 2006, CDC released a Simple Respiratory Mask design using heavyweight t-shirts in its Emerging Infectious Diseases journal. More of an academic post, but some ideas in it.

A Facebook group was formed last week: Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies. It is worth a visit — in just a few short days there are 20,000-plus members and volunteers.

If you are looking for some research and street-level testing of various materials for DIY mask-making, this post from Smart Air Filters is exceptional: What Are The Best Materials for Making DIY Masks? It also includes a few great links at the end of it.

Forbes’ editor Amy Feldman just expanded on the developing story of a team in Italy that is 3D printing respirator parts. Read it here: Meet The Italian Engineers 3D-Printing Respirator Parts For Free To Help Keep Coronavirus Patients Alive.

Bloomberg confirms that the workers and communities around them are rising up to meet this challenge: Hospital Workers Make Masks From Office Supplies Amid U.S. Shortage.

If you have a 3D Printer and have been trying out different N95-type designs, then you will want to read this one from 3D Printing Media Network by Davide Sher: Copper3D organizing global campaign to 3D print antimicrobial masks on a global scale. After you read it, you will probably want to order some PLA filament from the folks at Copper3D who are making their patent-pending idea and design open source to help fight COVID-19.

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I’m a Tech and Productivity guy. Do you have #lifehacks, #DIYtips, #HowTO ideas? Click the little “House” icon below to get to my website where you can submit ideas (via a Google spreadsheet). I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading and connecting. Sign up for my Tech Tips email. You can find me at the LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter link buttons, too. I still also cover a bit of my old beat on 3D printing, hardware, software, and mobile apps, as well.

Source: Calling All People Who Sew And Make: You Can Help Make Masks For 2020 Healthcare Worker PPE Shortage

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This is a translation of the video I made for an initiative by Make in Belgium. Different rules and requirements may exist in your area, so please check with your local health providers before making and donating masks. Download the (Dutch) pattern on http://maakjemondmasker.be A big hurrah for Make in Belgium for organizing this wonderful initiative. And thank you to Henk Rijckaert for involving me in this. Check out his YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/henkrijc… INSTAGRAM: http://www.instagram.com/craftswithellen PATREON: http://www.patreon.com/craftswithellen ————————— DISCLAIMER Even though my videos are set up as tutorials, I’m not professionally trained in any of these crafts. The tools that I use can be dangerous. Don’t try a craft if you are unfamiliar with the tools and the necessary safety precautions. Be safe!

 

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California Declares State Of Emergency After 1st Coronavirus Death In The State

Topline: California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on Wednesday after the state reported its first coronavirus death, making it the third state to declare an emergency in response to the disease.

  • The first patient who died was an elderly adult with underlying health conditions in Placer County, which is north of Sacramento.
  • The patient was a former passenger on the Grand Princess cruise, which departed from San Francisco to Mexico last month, raising concerns that others aboard may have been exposed, Newsom said. (The cruise company, Princess Cruises, also operated the Diamond Princess ship that was quarantined in Japan last month.)
  • State health officials are working to contact people who were on the ship, and the vessel is currently being prevented from docking back in San Francisco while the CDC tests symptomatic passengers on board.
  • Washington state, which has seen the most cases, and Florida have already declared states of emergencies.
  • Practically, an emergency declaration loosens up regulations to allow state agencies to procure medical supplies and resources faster.
  • There are 53 positive cases in the state, 24 of which involve patients who have been repatriated from abroad.

Crucial quote: “This proclamation, I want to point out, is not about money. It’s about resourcefulness. It’s about our ability to add tools to the tool kit,” Newsom said in a press conference.

News peg: Eleven people have died and more than 100 people have been infected by the coronavirus in the U.S. as officials brace for an outbreak. Public health experts say the U.S. should expect to see more cases in the coming weeks as the CDC begins to test more people after some early stumbles limiting its testing capacity.

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I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. Previously, I’ve reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside. I studied journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and was an editor at The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student newspaper. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email rsandler@forbes.com.

Source: California Declares State Of Emergency After 1st Coronavirus Death In The State

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday he has declared a state of emergency across the state after confirming California’s first death from COVID-19. Newsom said his decision to declare a state of emergency was not only a result of the confirmed death but because of confirmed cases of the virus on a California-based cruise ship. Newsom said the patient who died had been a passenger on the ship. For more info, please go to http://www.globalnews.ca Subscribe to Global News Channel HERE: http://bit.ly/20fcXDc Like Global News on Facebook HERE: http://bit.ly/255GMJQ Follow Global News on Twitter HERE: http://bit.ly/1Toz8mt Follow Global News on Instagram HERE: https://bit.ly/2QZaZIB #Coronavirus #CoronavirusOutbreak #California #GlobalNews

There Is A Drug Already Used In Japan Which May Treat COVID-19, Says New Study

A group of scientists in Germany have identified a drug called camostat mesylate, that they believe may work to combat COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The new study published last week in Cell, shows that SARS-CoV-2 binds to human cells in a similar way to the original SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) that caused a worldwide outbreak in 2003, with this binding depending on viral proteins called ‘spike’ proteins.

“Spike is so named because that’s what it looks like: a spike on the surface of the virus particle,” said Angela L. Rasmussen, PhD, a virologist in the faculty of the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. “In order for a virus to infect a cell, it has to attach itself to a protein on the surface of that cell which we call the receptor. For SARS-CoV-2, this is a protein called ACE2. Spike binds ACE2 and allows SARS-CoV-2 to enter and infect cells,” she added.

As well as this initial process, the spike protein has to be primed by an enzyme called a protease in order for the virus to complete entry into the cell. The study showed that similar to SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 uses a protease called TMPRSS2 to complete this process.

The scientists then looked at whether there were any compounds available that could stop the entry of coronavirus into the cell by stopping the TMPRSS2 protease from working. From previous work on SARS-CoV, they found one potential candidate called camostat mesylate and showed that the drug stopped SARS-CoV-2 from infecting lung cells in a dish.

“We found that SARS-CoV-2, like SARS-CoV, uses the host proteins ACE2 and TMPRSS2 to enter cells. Both viruses should therefore infect similar cells in patients and may cause disease via similar mechanisms,” said Markus Hoffmann, PhD, researcher in the Infection Biology Unit of the German Primate Center, Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Göttingen, Germany and first author of the paper.

Developing new drugs for infectious diseases or even diseases such as cancer or neurological conditions can take years, even decades. But camostat mesylate has already been tested in people, albeit not for the treatment of COVID-19.

“We knew from our previous work that camostat mesylate was active against other coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV. Therefore, we tested whether it is also active against SARS-CoV-2,” said Stefan Pöhlmann, PhD, Professor in the same institute in Göttingen. “Our study shows that camostat mesylate blocks infection of cells with SARS-CoV-2-like particles and with authentic, patient-derived SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, camostat mesylate inhibited infection of important target cells – human lung epithelial cells,” he added.

The compound is approved in Japan for the treatment of a number of non-infectious conditions in people, such as chronic pancreatitis and postoperative reflux esophagitis and has also had some tests in mice infected with SARS-CoV. However, it has never been tested in humans with COVID-19.

“It does require trials in humans to determine if it’s effective, and I suspect it would also require pre-clinical animal work with SARS-CoV-2 specifically before human trials could start. If it has been shown to be safe for clinical use in other countries, it may be fast-tracked for FDA approval or the FDA may authorize emergency off-label use,” said Rasmussen, indicating that the FDA will have to examine safety data and pre-clinical data before determining which, if any course of action to take with investigating the drug further.

One concern is that TMPRSS2 might not be the only protease that controls spike priming and hence blocking it may be ineffective in people as other proteases may act as backups, still allowing the virus entry into cells. There are also questions to be asked about how the drug would actually alter the ability of the virus to cause disease in people.

“Pathogenesis can’t be studied in cultured cells, so these questions will need to be addressed using animal models and human clinical samples,” said Rasmussen.

Given the similarities between SARS-CoV and the current virus SARS-CoV-2, the researchers also looked at whether people who recovered from SARS had any immunity to the new virus strain. They took serum containing antibodies taken from 3 recovering SARS-CoV patients back around the time of the original outbreak in 2003 and showed that this blocked entry of SARS-CoV-2 into cells. The serum was taken from patients b

“Antibodies from patients who had recovered from SARS blocked the SARS-CoV-2 from infecting cells in culture. This suggests that antibodies against SARS might be useful as a treatment for SARS-CoV-2,” said Rasmussen.

SARS in 2003 was a smaller outbreak compared to the current situation with only 8,098 cases formally recorded and over 7,000 people surviving. It is not known how many of these people are still alive today, but it is possible that they will have some immunity to COVID-19. On a wider scale, studying these people may provide incredibly useful clues about successfully treating COVID-19. So, what are the next steps for the researchers?

“We are currently analyzing whether camostat mesylate-related inhibitors show improved antiviral activity. So far we have not been contacted by others regarding off-label use of camostat mesylate. However, we are contacting physicians to discuss this option,” said Pöhlmann.

There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for COVID-19, but last week, the National Institutes of Health announced that the antiviral drug remdesivir had begun testing in a human clinical trial in the U.S. Remdesivir, marketed by Gilead Sciences has previously shown promise in preventing MERS coronavirus disease in tests on monkeys and is already being used in human trials in Wuhan. The first patient in the U.S. is an American who was evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which became a floating incubator for the virus, resulting in over 700 infections and six deaths reported so far.

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I am a postdoctoral research scientist focusing on childhood cancers and new, targeted cancer therapies. As a survivor of childhood leukemia myself, I am a determined advocate for research into better, less-toxic cancer treatments and how to reduce the long-term side effects of current drugs. I am an award-winning science communicator and have written for The Times, The Guardian and various cancer-focused outlets. I am also a 2017 TED Fellow, having done my TED talk this year on cancer survivorship and I regularly do public talks on topics ranging from ‘Why haven’t we cured cancer yet?’ to ‘Cannabis and cancer; hype or hope?’. I am passionate about using social media to communicate science and frequently share pictures and stories from my own laboratory work in real-time on my Twitter account @vickyyyf, alongside commentary about important research breakthroughs. You can find out more about me and how to get in contact via my website drvickyforster.com. All of my articles reflect my personal views and not those of my employer.

Source: There Is A Drug Already Used In Japan Which May Treat COVID-19, Says New Study

(25 Feb 2020) The University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha announced Tuesday it is enrolling adults diagnosed with the Coronavirus for a new clinical drug trial to treat the disease.

New York City Has Its First Coronavirus Patient Here’s What You Need To Know

Topline: New York City’s first case of coronavirus was reported by the New York Times Sunday evening.

  • The patient, a woman in her 30’s, is isolated in her home in Manhattan, according to a New York state official, and had recently been to Iran, according to the Times.
  • The patient’s test was conducted and confirmed by New York state, according to a state official, after the FDA approved the state on Saturday to run its own tests.
  • 1.5 million masks have been distributed to healthcare workers, with New York City mayor Bill de Blasio saying 300,000 more masks are needed from the federal government, among other protective gear.
  • Also in New York City: 1,200 hospital beds are available for coronavirus patients, while plans for possible quarantines at hotels, hospitals and homes are being made.
  • New York City’s subway and bus system could limit or stagger service, according to the New York Times, and transit workers have posted thousands of signs throughout the system encouraging riders to wash hands and avoid close contact with sick people.
  • San Francisco preemptively declared a state of emergency Tuesday, which will free up funding from state and federal governments that will reimburse its preparedness efforts, and allows it to direct city employees to focus on coronavirus response, including public health nurses, social workers and case managers.

Crucial quote: “The patient has respiratory symptoms, but is not in serious condition and has been in a controlled situation since arriving to New York,” said New York governor Andrew Cuomo in a Sunday evening statement. “There is no reason for undue anxiety—the general risk remains low in New York.”

Big number:  $40 million. That’s how much money New York state has set aside for coronavirus efforts. New York governor Andrew Cuomo said the funds will be used to hire additional staff, procure equipment and other resources to combat coronavirus, according to NBC’s New York affiliate.

Chief critic: U.S. surgeon general Jerome M. Adams. “Seriously people,” he tweeted from his official account Saturday, “STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”

                                

What to watch for: “We encourage everyone to take the standard precautions they would during any flu season,” said Patrick Warren, chief safety officer of the New York City’s mass transit system, which means covering one’s face when they sneeze or cough and washing hands frequently. New York City health commissioner Oxiris Barbot said anyone feeling coronavirus symptoms should contact their healthcare provider.

Key background: Up until Sunday, New York City had zero confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 32 people have been tested for the disease, according to a New York state official. Only the Manhattan patient’s test results came back positive, but there are 76 total cases nationwide. New York officials have already asked 700 recent visitors from China to self quarantine. In California, 33 people have been infected, while over 8,400 more are being monitored.  And the federal government is enforcing a mandatory 14 day quarantine for any citizens returning from China’s Hubei province, where the coronavirus is thought to have originated. U.S. citizens returning from other parts of mainland China will be asked to self-quarantine and be monitored by their local health departments for symptoms.

Tangent: San Francisco officials urged the public to separate the disease from ethnicity. Both SF and New York City’s Chinatowns have seen a drastic decrease in business over fears of the disease, when the virus’ transmission is mainly based on travel, according to San Francisco city health director Grant Colfax. Carmen Chu, a city assessor, said it was important “to share a message of making sure that we don’t let this disease turn us into racists…this is about contracting a virus because someone traveled.”

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I’m a New York-based journalist covering breaking news at Forbes. I hold a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Previous bylines: Gotham Gazette, Bklyner, Thrillist, Task & Purpose and xoJane.

Source: New York City Has Its First Coronavirus Patient. Here’s What You Need To Know.

Americans evacuated from China receive a health screening every 12 hours; although they have tested negative for the virus, it can incubate up to 14 days.

No, You Do Not Need Face Masks To Prevent Coronavirus—They Might Increase Your Infection Risk

Community transmission of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has officially begun in the U.S., with two cases in California and one in Oregon of unknown origin. The first COVID death was reported Saturday, Feb. 29, in Seattle. The natural human response to a strange, new disease making its way to a neighborhood near you is to feel anxiety and want to DO SOMETHING. That’s why many people have been buying up and stockpiling masks. But even if you could buy any in the midst of global shortages, should you?

No.

And if you already have masks, should you wear them when you’re out?

No.

Even if there are COVID cases in your community?

Even if there are cases next door, the answer is no, you do NOT need to get or wear any face masks—surgical masks, “N95 masks,” respirator masks, or anything else—to protect yourself against the coronavirus. Not only do you not need them, you shouldn’t wear them, according to infection prevention specialist Eli Perencevich, MD, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Iowa’s College of Medicine.

“The average healthy person does not need to have a mask, and they shouldn’t be wearing masks,” Dr. Perencevich said. “There’s no evidence that wearing masks on healthy people will protect them. They wear them incorrectly, and they can increase the risk of infection because they’re touching their face more often.”

But even if you know what you’re doing and you tie your hands behind your back, you still don’t need to wear a mask.

Only Wear A Mask If You’re Sick

First of all, most people buying masks are not getting one that stops the virus from reaching their mouth or nose anyway. The coronavirus is transmitted through droplets, not through the air. That means you cannot randomly breathe it in, but it also means the standard surgical mask you see people wearing will not help. Those masks are designed to keep droplets in—not to keep them out—and are intended to keep the wearer from getting others sick.

“The one time you would want a mask is if you’re sick and you have to leave the house,” Dr. Perencevich said. “If you have the flu or think you have COVID, that’s when you’d put on a mask to protect others. In your house, if you feel like you’re sick, you should wear a mask to protect your family members.”

ETA 3/1/20: If you are caring for someone with COVID in your home, it is wise to wear a mask when in close proximity to that person, who should also wear a mask, Dr. Perencevich said. Consult a healthcare provider for the correct way to wear and dispose of the mask, or consult this excellent explainer from the World Health Organization. For those concerned about being able to get a mask if you or a household member becomes ill with COVID, the emergency department or clinic where you are diagnosed should them to you. The sick individual should ask for one immediately upon arriving at the healthcare facility.

[ETA 3/1/20: There has been some question about whether this coronavirus is “airborne” and what that means. The virus is not airborne using the scientific definition used for pathogens such as tuberculosis or measles. Droplets might become aerosolized for some viruses, but there is not yet evidence showing that this coronavirus can be breathed in when a nearby infected individual exhales. Most research into this question focuses on influenza, such as this 2018 study suggesting the flu virus can be aerosolized in exhalations without coughing or sneezing. This evidence is preliminary, and it remains an open scientific question whether (and which) droplet-based respiratory viruses are transmitted this way. So far, all documented transmission for COVID cases has involved droplets. ]

What Does Keep The Virus Out?

The type of face covering that reduces exposure to airborne particles—including protecting the wearer from viruses and bacteria—is called a respirator. The type of personal protection equipment (PPE) that healthcare workers wear when treating someone with a serious contagious disease is a medical respirator.

As 3M, a major manufacturer of masks and respirators, explains, medical respirators do both: they protect the wearer from getting sick and protect the patient from the wearer’s germs. That’s where the confusion in terms—using “mask” and “respirator” interchangeably—often comes from. From here on in this article, assume “mask” refers to a respirator.

These medical respirators/masks must have an efficiency rating of “N95,” “FFP2,” or a similar rating that refers to how many particles—and of what size—can’t get through. The CDC has a webpage listing all the approved respirators for personal protection.

Disposable medical respirators can resemble standard surgical masks but must be thrown away after one use because they become contaminated with the particles they’re filtering out. Reusable respirators, which use replaceable filters, are the ones that make you look like a giant insect.

So Why Shouldn’t I Get An N95 Medical Respirator? 

The people who wear medical respirators have received training in how to wear them to protect themselves, such as ensuring the mask forms an airtight seal with their face.

But even then, “no matter how well a respirator seals to the face and how efficient the filter media is, wearers should expect a small amount of leakage inside any respirators,” 3M notes. “No respirator will eliminate exposures entirely.”

Not using—or disposing of—a respirator mask correctly can increase infection risk because it is literally trapping all the stuff in the air you’re trying to avoid, and many people end up touching their face absent-mindedly.

“Wearing a mask is tricky because it can create a false sense of security,” Dr. Perencevich said. “If you don’t wash your hands before you take off the mask and after you take off your mask, you could increase your risk.”

Even if you believe you will be careful enough to wear, use, and dispose of the mask properly, buying these masks in the midst of existing shortages makes it harder for hospitals and healthcare workers who actually need them to get them.

“The most concerning thing is if our healthcare workers are sick and have to stay home, then we lose the doctors and nurses we need to get through this outbreak,” said Dr. Perencevich, who recently tweeted concerns about the “potential crisis” of N95 respirator scarcity.

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, has even pleaded on Twitter, “Seriously people-STOP BUYING MASKS!” Aside from their ineffectiveness in protecting the general public, he said, “if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”

Disturbingly, Dr. Perencevich has even heard from colleagues who saw people walking out of hospitals with boxes of masks.

“We really need to get the message out not to take the masks from the hospitals,” he said. “We’ve got to protect our healthcare workers because they’re the ones who are going to take care of us if we get sick.”

Here’s How To Actually Protect Yourself From COVID-19

You’ve heard it over and over, already, but the best way to protect yourself from the coronavirus really, truly, honestly is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water. Karen Fleming, PhD, a professor in biophysics at Johns Hopkins University, explained on Twitter why: “Coronavirus is an ‘enveloped’ virus, which means that it has an outer lipid membrane layer,” an outer layer of fat. “Washing your hands with soap and water has the ability to ‘dissolve’ this greasy fatty layer and kill the virus,” she said.

Wash your hands before and after eating and try to train yourself not to touch your face, “especially your mouth and nose,” Dr. Perencevich said. Also carry around hand sanitizer in case you can’t get to soap and water after touching your face or another germ-laden surface (like doorknobs).

“Just because it’s a respiratory virus doesn’t mean it gets into your body through breathing,” he said. “It can enter when your contaminated hands touch your mouth or face. So wash your hands, and don’t touch your mouth or face without washing your hands first.”

You can also protect yourself through social distancing: If you see someone coughing or sneezing or otherwise looking sick, stay at least three feet away from them since that’s as far as most droplets will travel.

What If I’m Immune-Compromised Or Traveling To Infected Areas?

If you are immune-compromised or otherwise at high risk for complications from coronavirus—which means you’re already at high risk for flu complications—you need to talk to your doctor about whether it’s necessary to wear a medical respirator in public, Dr. Perencevich said. Similarly, if you’re traveling to an area with known widespread transmission, consult a travel clinic. Even in these cases, however, social distancing and washing your hands frequently are your most important and effective protection tools.

Here’s What You SHOULD Do To Prepare For COVID-19

So you shouldn’t be buying masks, but there are things you can do to prepare for an outbreak in your city. First, make sure you have at least 3-4 weeks’ worth of any medications you need “so you don’t have to run out and get it at a certain time,” Dr. Perencevich said.

Similarly, have enough necessities, including food and anything you cannot live without, on hand if school is cancelled for several weeks and the kids are at home. You don’t have to stockpile food, but being prepared for any kind of emergency—not just a disease outbreak but also unexpected severe weather and similar events—means having enough food and water (one gallon per person per day) on hand for three days along with supplies to use in the case of power outages.

A helpful disaster emergency kit list is available online from the Department of Homeland Security, and Kent State epidemiologist Tara C. Smith, PhD, offers great tips on preparing for COVID-19 at Self.

Where Can I Learn More About Medical Respirators And Masks? 

For the technical or science-minded folks out there, it’s certainly possible to jump down a rabbit hole and learn all about the manufacturing and technical specifications of personal protection equipment. Aside from the CDC page already mentioned, super geeks will want to read all the links at 3M’s Worker Health & Safety page on the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak. While 3M is not the only manufacturer, they are a major one with a great deal of helpful, easy-to-read information on the risk of products shipped from China (there isn’t much of one), healthcare alternatives to surgical N95 respirators, an FAQ for those in healthcare and the general public, and how to spot counterfeit products (though this will vary by manufacturer).

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I am a freelance science and multimedia journalist who specializes in reporting on vaccines, pediatric and maternal health, parenting, public health, mental health, medical research, and the social sciences. My work has appeared in The New York Times, NPR, Scientific American, Medscape, Self, the Washington Post, Politico, Everyday Health, Slate, Frontline Medical Communications and elsewhere. I coauthored The Informed Parent: An Evidence-Based Resource for Your Child’s First Four Years with Emily Willingham. I also recently published Vaccination Investigation: The History and Science of Vaccines and have written several science books for children. I regularly blog at my evidence-based parenting blog Red Wine & Applesauce and at the Association of Health Care Journalists, and I’ve delivered a TEDx Oslo talk on why parents fear vaccines. I received my master’s in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin (also my undergrad alma mater). I previously taught at Bradley University and in Texas high schools, and I often think of my journalism as a form of teaching, by helping others understand science and medical research and by debunking misinformation about vaccines, chemicals and other misunderstood topics.

Source: No, You Do Not Need Face Masks To Prevent Coronavirus—They Might Increase Your Infection Risk

Wearing a medical mask can help limit the spread of some respiratory diseases. However, using a mask alone is not guaranteed to stop infections. Their use should be combined with other preventive measures. Watch this short video to find out more. For more information, please visit : https://www.who.int/emergencies/disea…

First U.S. COVID-19 Death Thought to Be Community Transmission. Washington Governor Declares State of Emergency

On Saturday, Washington State officials announced that one person had died from the coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, in King County, marking the first death from the disease in the U.S.

Health officials say the man was in his 50s and had no known history or travel or contact with a known COVID-19 case, suggesting he was infected by a human-to-human transmission in the general public, often referred to as a community transmission.

Officials also announced two other presumptive cases in King County, each linked to the LifeCare nursing home in Kirkland, Wash. Neither patient had reportedly traveled outside the U.S. At a press conference on Saturday, Dr. Jeff Duchin, the health officer for public health of Seattle and King County said officials believe all three cases are cases of community transmission and were acquired in King County.

Officials are monitoring the nursing home and believe it is at risk for a possible outbreak of the virus. Officials added that they do not believe the man who died was connected to the nursing home.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency on Saturday in response to the new cases, and directed state agencies to use “all resources necessary to prepare for and respond to the outbreak.”

King County health officials said the man who died was in his 50s and was “a chronically ill person,” with “underlying risk factors for severe disease.” They said he died at EvergreenHealth Hospital.

In a press conference with the coronavirus task force on Saturday, President Donald Trump misidentified the patient who died as a “wonderful woman.

Officials also announced details about the two cases connected to LifeCare nursing home. One patient is a healthcare worker in her 40s, who also had no known travel outside of the United States. Officials said she is in satisfactory condition. The second is a woman in her 70s who is a resident at LifeCare nursing facility, who is in serious condition at EvergreenHealth Hospital.

Officials said over 50 individuals at LifeCare who are reportedly experiencing respiratory problems are being tested for COVID-19 and said “additional positive cases” are expected. At the press conference, Duchin said officials are “investigating the situation as an outbreak.” He added that the CDC is sending a team of epidemiologists to King County to help identify any possible new cases.

Duchin added that officials believe the patients contracted the virus before being admitted to EvergreenHealth Hospital, and do not presently believe the two patients at LifeCare and the man who died were connected to one and other.

The first known case of the coronavirus in King County had only been announced the day before on Friday: A woman in her 50s who had recently traveled to Daegnu, South Korea.

According to Washington State Department of Health, two people have also tested positive for the virus in Snohomish County, bringing the total number of cases in the state up to six. Thirty-seven people in Washington State have been tested for the virus so far, and 294 people are under public health supervision, according to the official.

The announcement comes after news broke that a California patient was thought to be the first possible human-to-human transmission in the general public. California officials announced a second possible community transmission on Friday, although Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer for Santa Clara County and Director of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department said in a statement, “the extent is still not clear.”

On Friday, Oregon health officials also announced the state’s first case of COVID-19 was believed to be a community transmission.

The U.S. has 68 confirmed cases of the virus. Besides the six suspected cases of community transmission, all of the other infected people had either traveled overseas or had been in close contact with those who traveled. The virus has transmitted from human to human in cases in Chicago and San Benito County, Calif., but in both cases, the infected person had close, prolonged contact with family members who had returned from Wuhan, China and had tested positive for the virus.

A CDC flowchart for assessing possible coronavirus cases as of Feb. 12 indicates that a patient must have either visited China, or had close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 within the last 14 days, in order for their possible exposure to the virus to be evaluated.

As of Feb. 26 the CDC had administered 445 coronavirus tests—not including those given to Americans brought back to the U.S. from Wuhan or the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Concerns over a shortage in tests to properly diagnose the novel coronavirus have prompted some states to take action. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said more than 8,400 people in the state are being monitored for the virus, and called for an expansion of the ability to conduct tests on people to detect the infection during a news conference on Feb. 27.

California is now working with the CDC to get access to more tests, Newsom said, adding that the state has “just a few hundred” testing kits, which he said was “simply inadequate.”

“We are not overreacting nor are we underreacting to the understandable anxiety many people have,” he said.

Health officials in New York state said they are developing their own test after encountering issues with tests provided by the CDC, according to reports in ABC 7 and BuzzFeed News.

Elsewhere in the U.S., 42 Americans evacuated from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess in Japan were confirmed to have the virus as of Wednesday.

CDC spokesperson Richard Quartarone tells TIME the patients are either at hospitals in Sacramento and San Antonio, or at the Nebraska Medical Center.

More than 300 American evacuees were flown out of Japan to air bases in Texas and California.

So far, cases have been diagnosed in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Illinois, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Texas. Globally, more than 82,000 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed or clinically confirmed as of Feb. 21 and some 2,800 people have died, according to a virus tracker from researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

The vast majority of cases are in China, but diagnoses in the U.S. are expected to increase over the coming days and weeks, according to the CDC.

Cruise ship evacuees

On Feb. 17, the U.S. State Department evacuated more than 300 American citizens from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan. The Diamond Princess has the largest outbreak of the novel coronavirus outside China with at least 621 confirmed cases so far.

During the evacuation process, American officials learned that 14 of the more than 300 Americans who were to be flown back were infected with COVID-19 after being tested two to three days earlier, according to a joint statement from the U.S. State Department and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. After consulting with HHS, officials with the State Department decided to allow the 14 individuals, “who were in isolation, separated from other passengers, and continued to be asymptomatic, to remain on the aircraft to complete the evacuation process,” the statement said.

The evacuees who are not hospitalized were being held in quarantine for 14 days after departing planes at Travis Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif. and Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, officials said.

The CDC said there are more than 100 American citizens who remained in Japan, including in hospitals. The CDC specified that these citizens will only be allowed to fly back to the U.S. if they test negative for and don’t show any symptoms of the virus during the 14-day period.

“If an individual from this cruise arrives in the United States before the 14-day period ends, they will still be subject to a mandatory quarantine until they have completed the 14-day period with no symptoms or positive coronavirus test results,” the CDC said.

The CDC also highlighted concerns with the quarantine process on board the ship, saying that it may have slowed the spread of the disease but that it “may not have been sufficient to prevent transmission among individuals on the ship.”

Washington

On Saturday, Washington State officials announced that one person had died from COVID-19 in King County, marking the first death from the disease in the U.S.

Health officials say the man was in his 50s and had no known history or travel or contact with a known COVID-19 case, suggesting he was infected by a human-to-human transmission in the general public, often referred to as a community transmission.

Officials also announced two other presumptive cases in King County, each linked to the LifeCare nursing home in Kirkland, Wash. Neither patient had reportedly traveled outside the U.S. At a press conference on Saturday, Dr. Jeff Duchin, the health officer for public health of Seattle and King County said officials believe all three cases are cases of community transmission and were acquired in King County.

Officials are monitoring the nursing home and believe it is at risk for a possible outbreak of the virus. Officials added that they do not believe the man who died was connected to the nursing home.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency on Saturday in response to the new cases, and directed state agencies to use “all resources necessary to prepare for and respond to the outbreak.”

King County health officials said the man who died was in his 50s and was “a chronically ill person,” with “underlying risk factors for severe disease.” They said he died at EvergreenHealth Hospital.

Officials also announced details about the two cases connected to LifeCare nursing home. One patient is a healthcare worker in her 40s, who also had no known travel outside of the United States. Officials said she is in satisfactory condition. The second is a woman in her 70s who is a resident at LifeCare nursing facility, who is in serious condition at EvergreenHealth Hospital.

Officials said over 50 individuals at LifeCare who are reportedly experiencing respiratory problems are being tested for COVID-19 and said “additional positive cases” are expected. At the press conference Duchin said officials are “investigating the situation as an outbreak.” He added that the CDC is sending a team of epidemiologists to King County to help identify any possible new cases.

Duchin added that officials believe the patients contracted the virus before being admitted to EvergreenHealth Hospital, and do not presently believe the two patients at LifeCare and the man who died were connected to one and other.

The first known case of the coronavirus in King County had only been announced the day before on Friday: A woman in her 50s who had recently traveled to Daegnu, South Korea.

According to Washington State Department of Health, two people have also tested positive for the virus in Snohomish County, bringing the total number of cases in the state up to six. Thirty-seven people in Washington State have been tested for the virus so far, and 294 people are under public health supervision, according to the official.

The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. appeared in Washington on Jan. 21. A 35-year-old man presented himself to an urgent care clinic in Snohomish County, Wash., after four days of cough and fever, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, which reported that he had recently been visiting family in Wuhan.

“The patient should be recognized for his decision to voluntarily isolate himself, seek proper medical care, and allow the details of his private medical treatment to be made public so that the world may learn from his case, and advance our understanding of novel coronavirus,” the Washington State Department of Health said in a public statement on Jan. 31.

The man was released from a Washington hospital on Feb. 4, according to the Associated Press.

“I am at home and continuing to get better,” the man said in a statement to the AP. “I appreciate all of the concern expressed by members of the public, and I look forward to returning to my normal life.”

Arizona

A single case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Arizona by the CDC on Jan. 26. The person had also recently returned to the U.S. after visiting Wuhan. The Arizona Department of Health Services said in a public statement that the person is “a member of the Arizona State University community who does not live in university housing,” and added that they were not severely ill but would be kept in isolation.

California

On Wednesday news broke that a California coronavirus patient was not tested for the deadly disease for four days—despite the hospital asking federal health authorities for a test.

The patient at the University of California-Davis Medical Center, who is a resident of Solano County, was the first U.S. case of possible human-to-human transmission in the general public—raising fears that the virus might be spreading in the country. It also raised questions about how prepared the U.S. health system is for a possible outbreak.

The California coronavirus patient was not tested for the deadly disease for four days — despite the hospital asking federal health authorities for a test. The patient is at the University of California-Davis Medical Center and is a resident of Solano County.

California officials announced a second possible community transmission on Friday, although Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer for Santa Clara County and Director of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department said in a statement, “the extent is still not clear.”

The first confirmed cases in the state were announced by the CDC on Jan. 26; the two patients had recently returned to the U.S. from Wuhan.

On Jan. 29, the State Department announced a flight carrying 195 evacuees from Wuhan landed at the March Air Reserve Base in southern California. Later, on Feb. 5, the CDC announced 14-day quarantine sites at the Travis Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif. and the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif., where more evacuees from Wuhan would be placed.

Two people who were quarantined at Miramar have since been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are now in isolation at the University of San Diego Health. A third person has been placed under investigation after developing symptoms that warrant testing, the hospital announced on Feb. 12.

Orange County and San Francisco have both declared states of emergency over the virus.

Illinois

The first case in Illinois was a woman in her 60s who had returned to the U.S. from Wuhan on Jan. 13, health officials said at a press briefing on Jan. 30. Her husband then contracted the virus, becoming the first confirmed case of person-to-person transfer of the virus in the U.S.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Feb. 12 that it became the first state in the U.S. to begin in-state testing for the virus.

Massachusetts

On Feb. 1, the CDC announced that a man in his 20s who lives in Boston was diagnosed with COVID-19, making him the eighth confirmed case in the U.S. He had also recently traveled to Wuhan.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said the man sought medical care soon after his return to Boston. He has since been in isolation, and those who came in contact with him have been identified and are being monitored for symptoms, the agency said in a public statement.

“We are grateful that this young man is recovering and sought medical attention immediately,” said Monica Bharel, Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner, in the statement. “Massachusetts has been preparing for a possible case of this new coronavirus, and we were fortunate that astute clinicians took appropriate action quickly. Again, the risk to the public from the 2019 novel coronavirus remains low in Massachusetts.”

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the CDC announced the first case of COVID-19 in the state on Feb. 5. The person was only identified as “an adult with a history of travel to Beijing, China prior to becoming ill and was exposed to known cases while in China.”

Wisconsin health officials said in a public statement that the person is isolated at home, and is doing well.

Texas

The first person diagnosed with COVID-19 in Texas is currently in isolation. The name of the individual has also not been released, but Jennifer McQuiston, a CDC division deputy director and current team lead at the JBSA-Lackland quarantine, told reporters at a Feb. 13 press conference that the person was a solo traveler.

Two additional Diamond Princess passengers are also in isolation in Texas as of Feb. 21, after they were determined to have the virus. The patients are being held at the Texas Center for Infectious Disease hospital, according to a public statement by the City of San Antonio.

The City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and the CDC announced Feb. 13 that the first person diagnosed was one of the Americans evacuated from Wuhan and transported to the military base on Feb. 7, after leaving Wuhan the previous day. There are currently 91 evacuees in a 14-day quarantine at the JBSA-Lackland military base, one of four designated quarantine sites for the roughly 800 Americans who have been evacuated from Wuhan.

On the morning of Feb. 11, the patient exhibited signs of a fever, McQuiston said. The person was transported to a hospital that morning, where samples were gathered and sent to the CDC overnight. Officials received the positive diagnosis around 6 p.m. on Feb. 12. “[That patient is] receiving excellent medical care,” McQuiston said at the Feb. 13 press conference. “They were, of course, not happy to learn of their diagnosis last night, and they do have loved ones in the United States that they are in contact with by phone, and we wish this individual well.”

Dr. Anita Kurian, assistant director at the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, also said at the press conference that “the risk for us at this time to the community here is still considered low.”

Of the estimated 400 Americans aboard the Diamond Princess, 151 landed at the Lackland Air Force Base on the morning of Feb. 17. Of those, 144 asymptomatic Americans were assessed and transported to Lackland quarantine, according to the City of San Antonio.

The individuals who remain in quarantine are being monitored for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

By Jasmine Aguilera , Amy Gunia , Madeleine Carlisle and Sanya Mansoor

Source: First U.S. COVID-19 Death Thought to Be Community Transmission. Washington Governor Declares State of Emergency

The US has confirmed its first possible community transmission of COVID-19. The patient, who lives in California, has no known links to other cases or travel history to China. That brings the total number of infections in the US to 60, with most of them catching the virus outside the country. Subscribe to our channel here: https://cna.asia/youtubesub Subscribe to our news service on Telegram: https://cna.asia/telegram Follow us: CNA: https://cna.asia CNA Lifestyle: http://www.cnalifestyle.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/channelnewsasia Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/channelnews… Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/channelnewsasia

The Global Shortage of Medical Masks Won’t Be Easing Soon

This photo taken on February 18, 2020 shows a worker sorting face masks being produced to satisfy increased demand during China’s COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, at a factory in Nanjing, in China’s Jiangsu province. – The medical equipment factory switched surgical instruments and dental equipment production lines to a mask production line to meet the increased demand. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

f you’re worried about the coronavirus and are having trouble getting hold of medical masks, these numbers will explain why: China is the world’s largest producer of them, with a reported daily capacity of 20 million pieces, but by the estimate of its manufacturers domestic demand alone is around 50 to 60 million per day.

No wonder you can’t find medical masks at your local pharmacy.

Some experts doubt the effectiveness of such masks for stopping transmission of the virus, officially named COVID-19. U.S. health officials say the bug spreads mostly between people who are in close contact with each other, and from respiratory droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs.

“A surgical mask might provide some protection, but it’s going to be very modest,” William Shaffner, a professor of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University says.

But that hasn’t put a damper on demand. The scale of the epidemic in China—where the virus originated and where almost 78,500 people are now infected—and the continued spread of the coronavirus globally has driven shortages across the globe.

Retailers on multiple continents are running out of masks, and prices for a box of masks on online retailers like Amazon have surged to hundreds of dollars. On Monday, aerial footage captured a line hundreds of people long in the city of Daegu, South Korea, where an outbreak is growing, waiting to buy them. On the same day, an industrial equipment store in Italy, where more than 370 people are confirmed to be infected, sold more than 500 masks—of the kind used in factories and on building sites—in the first 30 minutes it was open.

Chinese demand is outpacing supply

Chinese mask makers were only operating at 76 per cent capacity in mid-Feb. according to Chinese officials, which puts daily production at around five million pieces fewer than the 20 million maximum. The country’s output of N95 respirators, which are often worn by medical workers for additional protection, is even lower, at 200,000 a day, given the more complex technology and materials required to make them.

Demand in China could even be higher that what its mask makers estimate. Chaun Powell, vice president of strategic supplier engagement at North Carolina-based healthcare company Premier Inc., tells TIME that China’s need might exceed 400 million medical masks every day, if each workplace provides multiple masks per employee per shift.

To meet the shortfall, some Chinese companies in unrelated industries have started making masks. Foxconn, which manufactures Apple’s iPhones in China, has switched some of its production to masks; the company aims to produce two million units a day by the end of the month. Others, like an auto-maker in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, are making masks too.

Unable to produce enough of the protective gear to meet its own demand, Beijing has also been sourcing medical masks from overseas. Indonesian officials said at the beginning of February that China had placed “large orders” for Indonesian-made masks, equating to as much as three months of production, and Vietnam has exported huge quantities of masks to China. There are reports that Chinese traders have started sourcing supplies in markets as far away as Kenya and Tanzania.

Shortages are being felt across the world

Meanwhile, pharmacies from Germany to Canada to Italy and the U.K. are all low on medical mask supplies, according to posts circulating on social media.In a post on Twitter, a journalist for Agence France-Presse said that the only pharmacy in central London she could find stocking face masks was selling them for approximately $3.25 a piece.

Stores in the U.S., from Knoxville, Tennessee to New York City are also facing a dearth of the product. One medical supply company in Dublin, Ireland said it was struggling to find a supply of masks at a reasonable cost. And dentists in the U.K. and Australia say that with so much of their supply originally sourced from China, they now are facing a desperate shortage.

Withers Dental in Toowoomba, a city of 137,000 in Australia’s Queensland state, about 80 miles outside of Brisbane, tells TIME that they are among those affected.

“It’s extremely difficult, a lot of our regular suppliers have now put limits on the number of boxes we can buy,” says Anna Yarrow, the practice manager. “We’re limited to about two to three boxes a week, which is nowhere near enough to get us through our normal day of patients.”

Yarrow says that the practice has a back up supply of masks, which they’re relying on now.

“We’re trying every day single day with our suppliers and new suppliers to see what we can manage to get,” she says. “We’re just really hoping everything settles down and gets back to normal.”

Mike Bowen, an executive vice president and partner at the Texas-based mask maker Prestige Ameritech, says that he’s now receiving calls from people across the world who want to buy medical masks from his company, even though American-made masks tend to be more expensive than those produced elsewhere.

“I’m getting hundreds of calls every single day from people wanting to buy products from me because they can’t get them anywhere else,” he says. “You name a country, I’ve heard from them.”

Bowen, who is also the spokesman of the Secure Mask Supply Association, an organization that aims to ensure a sufficient supply of masks in a health crisis, tells TIME that he’s been trying to raise awareness of China’s global dominance in the supply chain for years.

“I’ve been very public about a prediction that one day China is going to have a pandemic and we’re not going to have masks over here,” he says. “And now it’s kind of happening.”

He says that about half of the U.S. supply of face masks comes from China, with Mexico another big supplier, but he’s seen less product available from China in recent weeks as the country grapples with the outbreak at home.

Powell, of Premier Inc., says that although China has not formally announced any embargoes on exports of personal protective equipment, he believes that no such gear has shipped out of China since mid-January. Other places, like Thailand, Taiwan and India have also restricted exports of masks to protect their domestic supply.

In Hong Kong, some have taken matters into their own hands. One film director imported a machine from India with which he hopes to begin manufacturing masks to sell online, and a Hong Kong property developer has announced plans to set up a factory capable of producing 200,000 masks a day.

Medical workers are facing supply shortages

Most seriously, the shortages are hitting medical workers—even those directly treating coronavirus patients.

In early February, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the fight against coronavirus was being hampered by “widespread inappropriate use” of protective gear by those who are not front line medical staff, and he cautioned against stockpiling masks.

“Demand is up to 100 times higher than normal, and prices are up to 20 times higher,” he said. “Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient to meet the needs of WHO and our partners.”

U.S. hospitals are closely watching their mask supplies. According to the initial findings of a survey of more than 4,000 hospitals Premier Inc. ran in conjunction with the U.S. CDC and FDA, most hospitals have more than a week of inventory, but are managing and rationing mask usage to prevent shortages. Powell says that the demand for N95 masks by the U.S. healthcare system is estimated to be somewhere between 25 million and 40 million each year.

“I’m getting calls from large hospitals that used to not even answer my phone calls,” Prestige Ameritech’s Bowen says.

On Tuesday, U.S. health officials said that Americans should prepare for the the coronavirus to begin spreading locally. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar reportedly told Congress Tuesday that the U.S. has far fewer medical masks than it would need in the case of a major outbreak in the country. The country has a stockpile of about 30 million N95 masks, but might need as many as 300 million during the outbreak, he said.

Bowen says that he hopes the crisis is a wake up call for U.S. hospitals who have been purchasing masks from overseas suppliers.

“What’s the difference between a Chinese mask and an American-made mask?” he asks. “Well, the main difference is [American-made masks are] here, and they’ll be available when China has a pandemic.”

By Amy Gunia / Hong Kong February 27, 2020 1:42 AM EST

Source: The Global Shortage of Medical Masks Won’t Be Easing Soon

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for free here: https://sc.mp/subscribe-youtube The demand for face masks has continued to surge in many places around the world including Hong Kong, Japan and Australia as the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has spread. Follow us on: Website: https://scmp.com Facebook: https://facebook.com/scmp Twitter: https://twitter.com/scmpnews Instagram: https://instagram.com/scmpnews Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/sout…

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