Despite efforts to ramp up manufacturing, healthcare workers are still experiencing shortages of supplies such as gloves, masks, and portable oxygen cylinders caused by demand during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, reports NPR.
MCCAMMON: So which supplies are the hardest to come by right now?
NOGUCHI: Well, you know, that list keeps evolving. But right now I’m hearing most about exam gloves. Also, sterilized water and portable oxygen cylinders are hard to find, particularly where COVID is sending a lot of people to the hospital because those are items that are used for respiratory treatment, and those supplies, you know, obviously become stressed when there’s a lot of people in the hospital. But there’s also stuff used in labs, like plastic pipette tips. You wouldn’t normally think of that. So sometimes it’s just the piece parts that are in short supply, but that affects a lot of other things. So now that mass vaccinations are about to get underway, that could also lead to different shortages of other items.
NOGUCHI: And the drama isn’t over. Bowen worries the last year still hasn’t changed how hospitals and government think about medical supply.
BOWEN: The entire supply could fail catastrophically if they continue to buy most of their products from outside the United States because when there’s a pandemic, countries take care of themselves.
Read more at NPR.