Health Care Workers Treating Coronavirus Are Running Out of Medical Masks and Gloves — Again

“We are hearing significant and growing concern from our member physicians that they cannot secure needed supplies to safely reopen and that they are unsure where to turn for further guidance and assistance."

They also pushed the Trump administration to enact the Defense Production Act, which would require manufacturers to produce masks, gloves and gowns — but Trump has continually resisted.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee also wrote to Trump about the lack of PPE, saying that only 10 percent of his $400 million order for equipment has been fulfilled so far. He said that forcing individual states to battle over the national stockpile of equipment is “akin to fighting a war in which each state is responsible for procuring its own weapons and body armor.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 95,000 health care workers have been infected with COVID-19, and at least 500 have died. Those numbers, however, are believed to be undercounts.

With most of the country now requiring that Americans wear face masks in public, which has been scientifically proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Dr. Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, tells PEOPLE that they should be careful about which types of masks they buy. He advises Americans to stick with sewn cloth masks — the thicker the material the better — and leaving even the papery surgical masks to health care workers.

“We don't want people using N95 respirators — I can't say enough times how important that is. They have an inadequate supply of those,” he says. “They are putting their lives on the line every day to care for COVID patients. Surgical masks are still also in short supply. We need to reserve those for health care workers.”

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