From the outset of the pandemic, there has been a constant demand for masks, sanitizers, and the like. The public soon learned that many health care workers had to reuse their N95 masks for several days. In response to this situation, 22-year-old chiropractor Brian Wilson decided to do something to help.
N95 Masks In The United States
Wolin together with his brother-in-law formed a company called Protective Health Gear. Located in New Jersey, the company aims to make N95 masks to help health care workers to stay safe during the Coronavirus pandemic. He now has a surplus to the extent he is waiting for buyers during an ongoing pandemic.
Wolin is not the only one to face this obstacle. Several small American N95 businesses are dealing with this very issue of supply being coordinated with demand. The situation seems ironic as the N95 mask has been in high demand throughout the year and the supply never seems to meet the required amount.
The best masks for protection against the virus are the N95 masks. They are effective because they block out 95 % of aerosols. This type of mask is essential for all on-ground workers who are exposed to the virus regularly.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has relaxed the rules on the standard of N95 masks. They have allowed the use of any items or products that have received approval from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
This has set the stage for new American manufacturers like Wolin to add their products to the market. His company was approved to make N95 masks after rigorous testing and completion of the paperwork in August. The aim is for the masks to be sent directly to health care workers at the front lines.
Wolin reports that he is yet to see the demand he expected based on news reports. He states that the demand for his company’s N95 masks is so low that the company only produces half of its total capacity. This comes as a surprise for Wolin who was expecting to be rushing to meet the required needs.
It has come to a point where his company, Protective Health Gear is having to store surplus masks in warehouses even while the supposed demand for masks is at an all-time high. Wolin has taken measures to bridge this gap by meeting with health care organizations and government agencies. He has even gone so far as to meet with the Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, and member of Congress, Bill Pascrell. However, there have been no improvements.
The irony lies in the fact that 62 % of health care organizations have reported a need for more N95 masks. Masks are still in need even though the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has authorized the reuse of single-use N95 masks. The CDC had to issue this order at the peak of the pandemic when masks mad other necessary supplies were not enough to meet the daily needs.
An official of the Biden administration stated that 22 new mask manufacturers have been granted NIOSH approval. However, many of these new manufacturers have explained that though they can produce plenty of masks, they have found it difficult to connect with health care agencies and government organizations.
The reason could be due to the manufacturers are new and have not yet established relationships with the necessary health care organizations. Some organizations have already invested in other companies and tested out the product for themselves. They are more likely to stick with the company that they now have rather than starting a contract with a new manufacturer.