Turns out that the best weapon against the COVID-19 virus was, and still is, the N95 face mask. If this wasn’t known from the start, it should have been. We, the greatest nation on earth, the greatest nation that has ever been, were, and still are, dependent on China, and South Korea, for N95 masks. Couldn’t even get enough N95s in those early days of the pandemic for our front-line healthcare workers. During those early weeks, doubling 1,000 new daily infections meant 2,000 infections could be expected soon. We have just watched November 2020’s 67,000 become January 2021’s 260,000. Yet, we haven’t tooled up. Still, we aren’t self-sufficient for N95 face masks. Yet, we are not handing out free N95 face masks. How many lives would have been saved if we, the greatest nation ever, had tooled up and produced enough N95 masks for every one of us by last April? And, if we had required their wearing? How many front-line healthcare workers’ lives could have been saved? How many American lives would be saved if every American had access to free N95s and wore them?
Now, one year in, it seems obvious that it is better to be self-sufficient when it comes to vaccines. Looking back, it is obvious that we would have been better off to have been able to produce our own N95 masks in sufficient quantities.
Which N95 mask are you discussing?
I bought some KN95 masks recently from Amazon,
about $80 for 50. Recommended by the FDC (but
maybe not the CDC) as in-a-pinch alternative to N95s.
China manufacture and still probably good.
“If this wasn’t known from the start, it should have been.”
Certainly they knew by January that Covid was spread through respiratory droplets. However, some of the failure comes from the fact that, unlike SARS (2004) and MERS, Covid patients do not need to show symptoms to be contagious. If people returning from China and Italy had been wearing even make-shift masks, New York’s April peak could have been much lower.
I suspect that New York’s success in coming off the peak led some people to believe the country had dodged a bullet. The spread rate in a large urban area where people started social distancing too late was catastrophic. Rural areas are inherently more distant. New York also started with hundreds of initial vectors whereas rural areas started later and with a mere handful. People who wanted to believe they did not need masks thought they had evidence, but it was from apples and oranges.