In our last blog post, we looked at how surge pricing was being caused by the second wave of COVID-19. In hospitals across America, the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) is at an all time high since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
We have seen first hand how N95 face masks, gowns and sanitizer wipes have had dramatic price increases since March 2020. Thomas Tighe, the CEO of Direct Relief, said, "Gloves feels like masks did several months ago. I think, as that spike in demand has increased, the supply availability is not there, prices have gone up."
In a November report to Congressional committees, the U.S. Government Accountability Office also raised concern about a shortage of gloves. The report found the national stockpile of gloves dropped from 16.9 million in December 2019 to 2 million in October 2020.
As the US aims to activate Operation Warp Speed - the national effort to provide a COVID-19 vaccine to every American - it is preparing to distribute 600 million doses should the Food and Drug Administration authorize emergency use. The glove shortage is a huge setback in a first world country that should be leading the way in the healthcare industry. Instead, basic PPE is not being provided to millions of frontline healthcare workers and in many cases, people are reusing contaminated masks and gloves simply because they do not have any more supplies. This massively increases the likelihood of contracting coronavirus when you go to a hospital or clinic - the very places we are taught are havens of safety and health.
The federal government has that said it will provide healthcare workers administering the vaccine with an ancillary supply kit that includes needles, syringes, alcohol prep pads, surgical masks and face shields. The kit does not include medical gloves.