Race to Remobilize: Covid-19 and the Fight to Produce Protective Equipment

Race to Remobilize: Covid-19 and the Fight to Produce Protective Equipment

With the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus and the disease COVID-19 around the United States and the world, a race is on to remobilize the textile industry to help fight the pandemic by producing personal protective equipment (PPE). | https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2764031 | 
Healthcare workers have long relied on a few key items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help keep themselves safe from infection and to prevent the spread of infection among patients and the general population. The key PPE items include gloves, face masks, air-purifying respirators, goggles, face shields, respirators, and gowns. 
Until recently, every single one of these items was ubiquitous enough to be considered more or less disposable in hospitals across the United States. Now, however, in the time of COVID-19, every single one of these items is a scarce, precious commodity in many locations. Increasing supply to meet demand will require a massive surge in manufacturing, no light or easy task. After all, there are highly specific manufacturing processes associated with these items, not to mention the materials involved and the expertise to produce them correctly. 
To help mitigate the effects of shortages, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified 3 levels of operational status: conventional, contingency, and crisis. 
During normal times, face masks are used in conventional ways to protect healthcare workers from splashes and sprays. However, when conditions become sufficiently severe and healthcare systems are stressed, the contingency mode applies. CDC recommendations for contingency mode call for conserving resources in some important ways, notably canceling nonemergency procedures, deferring nonurgent outpatient encounters if they might require face masks, not using face masks in public areas, and using face masks for protracted periods of time if at all possible. 
When things become still worse and the conditions for crisis mode are met, CDC recommendations call for further belt-tightening. All elective and nonurgent procedures and outpatient appointments that would typically require face masks are to be canceled. 
Additionally, face masks should be used beyond the manufacturer-designated shelf life even during patient care activities. Limited reuse becomes permissible, and the use of face masks is prioritized for situations in which splashes, sprays, or aerosolization are likely. In those situations in which face masks are not available at all, the CDC recommends using face shields without masks.
 
 
Continue reading on SynZenBe | https://www.synzenbe.com/blog/race-to-remobilize-covid-19-and-the-fight-to-produce-protective-equipment-995/995 |
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