This past weekend, consumers in parts of the US started seeing empty shelves and a lack of stocks in key supplies. Even as the US Surgeon General is reminding people that they do not need a mask and that masks are not as effective as you hope, nervous consumers are willing to ignore that advice for just one more layer of real or perceived security against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.
The trouble is China – which has seen many businesses close since COVID-19 appeared in December – is the source of nearly 20% of the world’s disposable medical supplies, including masks. Therefore, supplies are not likely to increase rapidly until the need for these products in China and abroad is reduced or domestic suppliers are able to ramp up production sufficiently.
In the meantime, consumers who still want to buy masks will compete for the remaining supplies with professionals – including first responders and medical personnel – who need them for their daily operations.
For more information, see Freedonia’s Global Medical Disposable Supplies and Disposable Medical Supplies in the US reports.