Most of us have learned that hospitals all over the world are also running out of supplies, namely face masks. It’s a two-part problem: Half of the face masks American hospitals use are made in China, which temporarily halted exports as it grappled with its own outbreak. Even with expanded production, China’s factories aren’t on track to meet demand—exacerbated by panicked, non-medical professionals buying up the supply for themselves at heightened prices or on the black market. It’s irresponsible and probably unnecessary: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have repeatedly said the general public does not need to wear masks. Plus, my sister quickly pointed out that regular surgical masks don’t completely protect you against the coronavirus. This CDC infographic succinctly compares a paper-y surgical mask to a N95 mask, which filters out 95% of airborne particles. Both are meant to be single-use.
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