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Halfway through 2020, people are getting accustomed to following health experts’ protocols and government mandates. People are now following the compulsory wearing of face masks, keeping a distance of two meters from each other, and frequent sanitation. People adapted to the ‘new normal.’ With the high demand for masks, people made different designs and used different materials to make them. 

Medical Face Mask

A medical mask is the most common type of Mask. You can see healthcare workers using this type of Mask even before the pandemic. The medical face mask has high filtration cloth that filters out 90% of air particles. It is usually disposable and for single use only. You need to wear a new medical mask after 8 hours. 

N95 Face Mask

The N95 has high protection and filtration of 95% of air particles. The N95 face mask can keep the smallest viral particle out of your airway. It is recommended for people in the healthcare industry since they are exposed directly to different patients who may be harboring the Coronavirus disease or some other form of infection. 

Cute Medical Masks

Though mandatory, wearing masks is not only limited to the designs of the bland and boring face covers. People are starting to patronize cute medical masks to stay fashionable while following health protocols. Health experts recommend cloth coverings to limit the exposure to the viral particles, but cute medical masks have high protection grade and aesthetics. 

Cloth Medical Mask 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended using cloth medical mask when out of your homes or when in public. Cloth masks do not give as much protection as the medical mask and N95 masks, but cloth medical masks can filter out common particles present in the air. Wearing a cloth mask is generally okay, but you also need to practice social distancing at all times or wear a face shield together with it to increase your protection. 

Face Mask Washable

Face mask washable is probably the most common type of face-covering used recently. Since the CDC recommended any form of covering is okay, mask washable filled up the stores and markets. The ordinary cloth cannot protect you from any viral or bacterial particles present in the air. Face mask washable can protect you from dust particles, but it cannot protect you from disease-carrying organisms.

DittoMask High Filtration Face Mask

Choosing the right Mask for you and your loved ones is crucial at this time of the pandemic. The Coronavirus disease is highly contagious and will enter the body through the nose, mouth, and eyes. You must be well-protected and practice health protocols at all times. 

Using DittoMask high filtration mask gives you 90% protection from the smallest viral and bacterial particles. It is a washable face mask that uses ordinary laundry process or through UV light disinfection. Choose DittoMask washable products.

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One of the biggest problems facing America, during the coronavirus epidemic, was the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other safety equipment. There were reports of Amazon vendors selling their masks at $1000 for a pair of 15 N95’s. Masks became such a hard-to-find commodity, that even healthcare workers were forced to reuse their masks multiple days in a row. Essential workers, such as grocery-store and supermarket workers, who interact with thousands of shoppers each day, also faced challenges accessing masks. The price surged rapidly, and the question is: How did we allow this to happen?

The answer is partially due to the fact we outsourced most mask manufacturing to China, and that the Strategic National Stockpile ran out of equipment – this triggered a rapid shortage in masks/PPE which started a worldwide trade war and made the price of masks surge. China, the country that manufacturers most of our medical supplies, stopped shipping large supplies of masks to fight their own battle at home. The US government also had a Strategic National Stockpile of masks (located in warehouses throughout the US), but this stockpile ran out as early as April.

What Caused The Federal Stockpile Shortage

While the Federal stockpile was subject to a lot of criticism, and likely the main cause of price surges during the Covid-19 pandemic, there is one obvious question: How did the wealthiest country in the history of the world fail to accumulate a stockpile large enough to fight a pandemic flu? The answer: Previous pandemics. 

The Strategic National Stockpile was large enough to supply all US hospitals without any issues during the 2009 swine flu pandemic. The Obama administration handed out 85 million N95 respirator masks during that pandemic. This was seen as a successful response to the pandemic. The problem was that the government assumed we wouldn’t face such a pandemic again, and never fully replenished the stockpile.

During the first days of the coronavirus outbreak in the US in February 2020, the Federal stockpile only contained 12 million N95 respirator masks – almost 8x less than it had at the start of the swine flu outbreak 10 years ago. The Internal Safety Equipment Association estimated that healthcare workers would actually require 3.5 billion masks for this pandemic, and the stockpile couldn’t be relied upon to supply US healthcare workers, which meant extraordinary measures had to be taken.

The Strategic National Stockpile is funded via congressional appropriations – similar to many other organizations that purchase Federal equipment. Congress had a very limited amount of money to spend, and only the officials in charge of the stockpile dictate how to spend those funds.  The officials in question purchased hundreds of millions of masks in the early 2000s, which quickly dried up by the end of the decade. Funding for additional purchases were also withdrawn, leaving them unprepared for future pandemics.

Conclusion

The Federal stockpile was never actually meant to serve as a “national savor”. The Federal Stockpile’s responsibility was to supply the healthcare worker’s needs for a pandemic that lasts only a single month. Congress never allocated enough money for a multi-month pandemic. The officials in charge hoped that hospitals were going to build their own stockpiles. 

However, most hospitals didn’t create stockpiles in order to save cash flow. In this regard, both private hospitals and the government came up short and unprepared. Once the big hospitals ran out of supplies, so did many pharmacies – and this triggered the price to surge.

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If you’re a business owner, one of your main concerns is protecting your employees and customers. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is one of the largest industries in the world, and the demand for PPE is ever-growing. With the rapid increase in industrialization, businesses established many manufacturing protocols that required workers to wear PPE, even in non-medical fields. These industries require workers to wear protection at all times, even before the pandemic. This guide will show you which industries/businesses require PPE for workers, and how to protect your workers.

During the first month of the Covid-19 crisis, the demand for PPE surge more than ever. Covid originated in a city in Eastern China and spread all over the world, bringing the entire world to a standstill, causing border closures and economic failures. Patients overwhelmed many hospitals around the world, and the stockpiles were running out, with manufacturers failing to meet demand. The pressure on healthcare workers increased, and soon PPE became mandatory for all essential workers,  including supermarket workers, police officers, and more. The following is a list of industries where PPE is mandatory:

  1. The Petroleum/Gas Industry

In the oil and gas sector, PPE was necessary even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. That’s because workers are exposed to thousands of potential hazards arising from exposure to lethal chemicals that cause serious illness, such as cancer. In this industry, protection is paramount. Even though drillers and chain hands historically used to belong under the banner of protection guidelines which are liable for protective equipment – oil contractors also had to be protected from all workplace dangers. The oil/gas industry is seeing massive changes in regard to the protective requirements.

  1. Real Estate/Construction Industry

The construction sector is one of the largest in the US, with billions of dollars invested in new developments each year. As the population grows, the demand for housing increases and the real estate sector is one of the most dangerous sectors that require protective equipment. The PPE industry has historically benefited a lot from the growing construction sector and worker’s protection norms that were laid down by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) still apply – all employers must grant their employees adequate protective equipment or face penalties.

  1. Biotech/Pharmaceutical Industry

One of the most dangerous and largest industries in the world, that contributes billions of dollars to the economy, is the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical workers involved in the production and manufacturing of drugs expose themselves to risks equal to that of healthcare workers, and they deal with dangerous chemicals, hazardous substances, and drugs. While the drugs are effective in the treatment of patients, the exposure to drugs in the manufacturing stage poses a major health risk to pharmaceutical workers.

  1. Manufacturing Industry

The manufacturing sector encompasses all factories that manufacture tangible products – from airplane parts to computer equipment. Protective equipment is mandatory in all manufacturing spheres, and workers must wear adequate protection. Many factories expose workers to dangerous substances and machines, and workers frequently must shift between different protective equipment to stay safe.

  1. Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry has historically relied on PPE and faced shortages during pandemics, such as Covid-19. The global medical sector saw major disruptions during the pandemic, with shortages on protective masks, respirators, gloves, gowns, and other equipment. The demand for protective equipment has far surpassed the supply, and it is of essential importance for the safety of medical workers.

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COVID-19 instilled a sense of urgency in business owners to implement safety protocols in order to protect their workers and customers. Essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers, was in short supply, and this caused the price to surge. During the first few weeks of the pandemic, we witnessed price gauging and a shortage of basic necessities such as face masks and toilettes. 

The worldwide production capacity increased, and pharmacies took hold of new supplies, hence the price started to normalize in recent weeks, and most of the general public now wear face masks. This begs the question: Should employees be allowed to wear their own masks voluntarily? Should all employees wear identical masks, or should they be allowed to bring their own masks?

This post will focus on the employer-vs-employee relationship during the pandemic, and how business owners should prepare for the future. While employers are legally obliged to supply PPE to workers, many of them might refuse to wear protective equipment or choose to bring their own. Where does the responsibility lie when it comes to the workplace?

EEOC PPE Guidelines

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released guidelines that mandate that all business owners must provide their employees with essential protection, such as face masks, gloves, or gowns which reduce the transmission. This doesn’t only apply to healthcare workers but other essential workers as well.

If your business relies on interaction with the public, such as a retail store or a food store, you should consider purchasing high-level protection for your employees. This includes respirator masks, such as DittoMask, which contain filtration systems that filter virus particles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not impose any legal requirements on businesses or individuals – while they recommend we wear face masks where social distancing is not possible, this is not a legal requirement.

Depending on your state, you may have to provide additional PPE. States all across the US take their own approach to the pandemic. Each governor may mandate their own requirements for facial protection for workers. The most essential piece of PEE is face protection, because the virus spreads by inhaling the particles.

In order to protect the workplace and the public at large, all employees must wear a face mask. As a business owner, you can opt for 2 types of face masks: Surgical masks or respirator masks. The issue with surgical masks is that employees must discard them after a single use, which means you’ll have to replenish your stock daily or weekly. If you purchase respirator masks, your employees can re-use them indefinitely. One such mask is DittoMask.

Develop a Policy On Face Masks

Business owners are finding it difficult to implement safety standards in the workplace, because the suggestions and protocols are changing daily. This makes it hard to keep up, and employers must go the extra mile to communicate these new policies to their employees. It’s better to change your existing policies than not have an emergency plan. Every time you develop a new policy, you should have a legal team ready to back the policy, and implement it through the human resources department to make sure all workers are compliant.

The businesses’ policy on face masks has to be based on guidelines supplied by the CDC and the state regulations. Start by checking your state government’s website and find out whether there are special guidelines or requirements for the workplace in your state. The key here is to implement an effective policy where all employees wear face masks. The specifics of the plan should vary based on your current resources and long-term plans.