With all that is happening in the world right now, one of our biggest priorities is to help our communities & local businesses navigate this complex landscape as easily as possible. Currently with PPE (personal protective equipment) in such high demand in the midst of a global pandemic, there is a lot of misinformation and fraud circulating, including price-hikes, counterfeits, unfair pricing terms, and tons of unfulfilled cases for PPE purchases.
Here, we will compile articles and resources from trusted sources about what we think you should know about PPE, their differences & certification requirements, and how to best protect yourself, as well as what you should look out for when obtaining them for yourself.
Legal Insights on the Import of PPE and Other Medical Supplies Vital to Fighting COVID-19
- The COVID-19 crisis has revealed the extent to which the United States and other countries are dependent upon a well-functioning global supply chain of critical medical supplies, including ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as N95 respirator masks, surgical masks and other items essential to protecting doctors, nurses, EMTs and others on the front lines of the pandemic. As with many goods, the supply chain, from raw material to manufacturing to delivery, is global and depends on "just-in-time" supply chains. Indeed, while the various U.S. companies that sell N95 masks have U.S. manufacturing facilities, most masks are manufactured overseas – with roughly half made in China.
- As with many goods, the supply chain, from raw material to manufacturing to delivery, is global and depends on "just-in-time" supply chains. In normal times, this degree of global sourcing does not present a problem. But these are not normal times. The massive need, not only in the U.S. but in other countries as well, has led to a global hunt for PPE supplies.
- Given that background, a "Wild West"-style market for PPE has emerged – with governments, hospitals, healthcare companies, entrepreneurs and others all on a worldwide hunt for supplies to buy and sell, logistics companies selling coveted air cargo capacity made scarce by the severe restrictions on international flights, and governments trying to figure out how to bring order to the chaos – all while making sure the equipment is legitimate and policing against scam artists and "virus profiteers," as well as trying to facilitate the flow of genuine equipment to those who need it.
CDC: Strategies to Optimize the Supply of PPE and Equipment
- PPE shortages are currently posing a tremendous challenge to the U.S. healthcare system because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare facilities are having difficulty accessing the needed PPE and are having to identify alternate ways to provide patient care.
- The CDC offers some strategies to use when PPE supplies are stressed, running low, or absent found in the article above.
FDA: What You Should Know About N95 Respirators & Surgical Masks (Face Masks)
- The FDA provides a source to answer commonly asked questions about N95 and surgical masks above.
HSA: A Guide to Masks & Respirators
- This is a short, high-level guide of the differences between certain masks and respirators (surgical vs. N95 vs. cloth masks). We highly encourage you to learn more about the different types of masks that best suit you and what certifications are necessary for your use cases.
FDA: What You Should Know About Gowns
- The FDA provides a source to answer commonly asked questions about gowns above.