At the beginning of this coronavirus pandemic, a spike in the demand of surgical masks and N95 particulate respirators happened almost instantly. Panic buying sent people to stockpile essentials of food, anti-cold and flu drugs, toilet paper. Other targeted items included cleaning products such as Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer, and of course, personal protective equipment (PPE) including latex gloves and surgical face masks. Government officials hurried to make announcements in hopes of decreasing the buying frenzy with mixed results.
Food and medications are still readily available but even large distributors like Amazon have a back order on surgical face masks of at least several weeks. Whatever stashes people managed to collect, once those are gone, that may be it for some time.
The inability to find face masks is now a particular problem in states like New York and Pennsylvania, who have recently declared face coverings mandatory for all who venture out into public spaces like grocery stores. In such places where people gather out of necessity, social distancing is not always practical. With this new regulation in place, people are looking at their own inventories of PPE with dismay.
As we settle into this pandemic, most individuals have already exhausted their private PPE stock, to say nothing of hospital workers. Nurses and doctors on the front lines fighting this disease are starting to rely on last resort measures to protect themselves. Medical professionals have been seen sporting garbage bags in place of hospital gowns and bandanas where surgical masks and N95 particulate respirators are nowhere to be found.
As global supplies dwindled, an agreement was reached for the public to refrain from buying N95 respirators and even surgical face masks. It was decided the best use of this PPE was by medical professionals caring for those with coronavirus or testing those suspected of infection.
Both respirators and surgical face masks were designed as single use items. N95 masks are particulate respirators able to filter out 95% infectious particles as small as the coronavirus while still being breathable. Surgical masks are second best to them. They have a critical flaw in that they are looser fitting around the sides, potentially allowing pathogens access to the nose and mouth.
The growing number of coronavirus cases has forced those in medicine to reuse their face masks between cases. While this unregulated practice extends the use of the masks, doctors and nurses fear the possibility of spreading covid-19 particles on the outside of the masks between healthy and unhealthy patients. Another concern is the consequences of prolonged contact with a potentially contaminated face mask on the users themselves.
These face masks cannot be washed since any water at all would quickly destroy the integrity of the face mask and the elasticity of the straps. One work around is to wear a cloth covering over the mask but since the shortage of surgical and respirator face masks, even these less appealing situations are no longer available.
The shortage of effective face masks seemed somewhat unimportant to the general public considering the evidence against cloth or even surgical face mask use. The looser fitting structure of the surgical face mask simply is not as effective as the N95 respirators being saved for the medical field, but of course is better than nothing for those working in healthcare.
Furthermore, evidence supported that cloth face coverings were ineffective against shielding the wearer from covid-19 particles. With this fact circulating that the covering would not protect individuals, some elected to forego wearing a mask with little concern.
Around the beginning of April, all of this changed as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially recommended the use of cloth face masks. It is still known that nothing less than an N95 respirator provides a suitable enough face mask to protect against contracting the coronavirus. What has changed is the obvious barrier protection reusable cloth face masks can provide.
Those infected with the coronavirus can slow the spread by wearing the face mask in public. Since the majority of the infected may only experience mild symptoms, it’s possible they may venture out for groceries or medication while ill. In this case, wearing even a layered cotton face mask is enough to help to prevent virus particles they may sneeze or cough from spreading in the air to infect those around them.
Even without being ill, an infected person can still spread the coronavirus. Within the possible 14 day incubation period before the disease hits, there are several days before illness where a person may feel fine but shed infectious particles to those around them. Any shopping or appointments they go to during this time puts others at risk, especially the elderly or those who already have health conditions.
Talking loudly can also project the virus into another person’s eyes, nose, or mouth. An added concern is the fact that spit often unintentionally flies even if an individual tries to pronounce words carefully and keep their speaking volume at an appropriate level. In all these circumstances, wearing a cloth covering or reusable face mask protects those around us in public places.
Following advice from the CDC, President Trump emphasized the recommendation to cover up in public but was clear it is not a legal requirement. With the controversy over how face masks can work decided on, many expect this to become a regulation in the near future.
Already the growing rise of coronavirus cases overshadowing New York has caused the state’s governor Andrew Cuomo to take this health directive one step further. New Yorkers must now follow law to wear a cloth face covering in New York wherever social distancing is not possible. In the face of disappearing PPE, this raises many concerns.
To help fulfill the legal obligation, individuals in many communities have stepped up to the plate, privately supplying small numbers of reusable masks to families as they can. Recommendations have been floating around that multiple layers of cloth are desirable for reusable face masks. Some even go so far as to sew them with pockets so that coffee filters or even HEPA filters can be inserted for further protection.
Health officials however warn that if HEPA filters are to be used, the wearer should always be careful to make sure the filter is of a type that does not contain fiberglass. Use of those filters that do contain this material risk the individual inhaling fiberglass into the lungs, causing dire consequences.
As governor Cuomo and President Trump exchange bitter words about the conditions in New York, many of that state’s residents are hustling to get masks out to the general public. Those involved include dentists, police officers, and even furriers.
Surprisingly Pennsylvania’s state Governor Tom Wolf fell in line behind Governor Cuomo on April 15th. Despite what seems to be a flattening curve to the spread of covid-19, Gov. Wolf believes the benefits of wearing a cloth face covering will go further to protect those most vulnerable to the disease.
Currently, essential businesses still in operation such as groceries and pharmacies, now have the legal right to turn away anyone who attempts to enter without wearing an adequate cloth facial covering. Containing the spread of coronavirus is an admirable achievement but as Governor Wolf knows, the efforts in place so far are only the first steps to beating this pandemic. It is clear the hope in Pennsylvania is that a serious attitude towards the recommendations of the CDC will help eliminate the outbreak.
As the pattern of state law mandating the use of reusable face masks continues, small and large businesses who are still operating have a challenge ahead of them to make sure their employees also wear masks. Supplying these organizations will be tougher as the option of having private individuals sewing them together will understandably take longer to create the numbers.
Each employee would ideally have at least one back up face covering, to say nothing of the customers who enter unprepared or find themselves in need of another reusable face mask for whatever reason. In those cases, it may be to the company’s advantage to keep a small cache of face masks that can be given or sold to customers.
Luckily some companies, especially in New York, are turning their talents to do what they can in providing washable face masks. Most of these require patterns that are sewn by hand but any attempts to turn out bulk quantities will be useful.
Bulk orders of cloth face masks are obviously beneficial for the larger orders that can be expected by essential services still doing business. Invisible Defender is one company currently operating to supply this need. Invisible Defender is a brand new company comprised of familiar American manufacturers stepping in to help fill the void of reusable PPE. Their face masks are 100% American products and they produce tens of thousands per day using American employees.
Unlike conditions in poorer countries that manufacture various clothing items, a company making cloth face masks in the U.S.A. has much better working conditions, which is reflected in the price of the product. Typical unit price for a cotton face mask produced at Invisible Defender is about $6.95, which is still in good comparison to other products available.
Invisible Defender is pulling its weight to provide Americans with an American solution. States that go the way of New York and Pennsylvania, as well as those states themselves, will be glad of a solution that can cover the large quantities of reusable face masks that we can see will be needed. As production continues in bulk quantities, orders of reusable face masks from Invisible Defender must also be sold in bulk.
These reusable face masks are meticulously hand sewn and shrink tested. They have a known life span of 20-25 washes, a specification lacking in most other manufacturers of cloth face masks. If you own a business in operation, you should consider this purchase against the possibility of future requirement by your state government.
If you own a business that is not in operation, take into consideration that recommendations regarding cloth face masks are likely not going to disappear quickly, even after this pandemic is under control. Consider your own bulk order in the eventuality you return to work and have to provide employees with one or more cloth face coverings, or would like to extend coverings to your clients as a curtesy or a paid product. Go here to view your options with Invisible Defender.
Private citizens who are not business owners, or even those who have suffered job less due to the current pandemic, should also consider these reusable face masks. One sure way to get ahold of multiple masks per person would be to round up the number of masks other neighbors may need and place a bulk order. Such community leaders would definitely be providing a service in this manner.
Face mask cost at Invisible Defender is nothing to sneeze at, but wary buyers can rest more easily knowing Invisible Defender uses an escrow company. This means that after a purchase is made, the money only goes to Invisible Defender when product is shipped. Half the payment leaves escrow at that time, and the other half when face mask delivery is complete and signed for. This is the best no-risk situation anyone is likely to find.
Visit Invisible Defender today. If anything is sure, it is that the future is uncertain, especially where cloth face coverings is concerned. Make certain you, your loved ones, and your business will be prepared no matter how the dust settles. Get a mask, stay home as much as possible, and stay safe. Go here to check out the products at Invisible Defender today.
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