US healthcare providers are once again struggling to supply and reuse equipment as the number of new patients with coronavirus is increasing across the south of the country.
Health workers again face a shortage of masks, gowns, protective masks and gloves – the problem that affected hospitals in the early months of the pandemic recurs again. Nurses say they reuse N95 masks for days or even weeks. Doctors cannot properly treat patients because they lack personal protective equipment.
Government officials say they were looking for US and international suppliers, but so far supplies have been limited again. Experts fear that the problem may worsen as the number of patients increases, which will lead to an increased load on medical systems.
Some hospitals say that most PPE purchased today is prohibitively expensive. This issue is especially acute for small and rural service providers who cannot compete with larger healthcare systems in price and bulk orders.