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COVID-19: Is This "Official Hoarding" of N95 Masks?

Why is this mask thing still an issue?

by Eric Holdeman / December 31, 1969

I can understand being caught flat footed with a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) back in early spring of 2020. I recall one hospital administrator stocking up on what he thought was six months of PPE, which they blew through in only a few weeks. The need way outstripped the supply system.

Now, nine months later, why are medical professionals calling out the need for more PPE? Everything I read "back in the day" forecasted a surge of coronavirus cases in the fall of 2020. Here we are, and still the medical communities in hard hit areas of the nation are husbanding their PPE since there isn't enough on hand to meet the demand. Why wasn't the National Defense Production Act used to mobilize the manufacturing of the necessary PPE? Nine months might have given us enough time with prompt action not to be in the fix we are in.

Which then brings me to this story today from the Seattle Times: "Washington state stockpiles N95 masks as hospitals see demand rise in new coronavirus wave."

I don't think the title of the story reflects the fact that there are 30 million masks in storage here in Washington state already. Wrong type? Wrong size? Don't meet "real" specifications? One of the lessons from all disasters is that there is a "poor use of specialized resources" in disasters. We have too many or too few, they are located in the wrong areas, they arrive too late to be used, someone is holding them in reserve (for when they are really needed — after the pandemic), and on and on. 

My nose tells me that there is something amiss with those 30 million masks. 

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