The possibility of a new recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has sparked a race for N95 masks and increased their prices.
The agency is considering changing its guidance to recommend that people wear higher-quality masks, according to a Washington Post report. This contributes to an increase in the prices of standard masks N95 Y KN95 on sites like Amazon.com.
A pack of 40 Hotodeal-brand KN95 masks now costs $79.99 via third-party sellers on Amazon, up from just $16.99 at the end of November, according to data from price tracker camelcamelcamel. A 50-pack of Kimberly-Clark N95 masks costs $57.15, compared with $23.19 in early October.
Ever since the highly contagious omicron variant began to spread rapidly, concerned consumers have put aside their cloth or surgical masks, opting instead to seek out gear that provides more protection. Children’s masks have been in special demand, as many public schools still hold in-person classes.
Some experts have indicated that N95 masks are superior to cloth ones, but CDC they have not yet issued an official recommendation. However, it says on its website that “facemasks and respirators can provide varying degrees of protection, with well-fitting NIOSH-approved respirators (eg, N95) offering the highest protection”.
President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Response Coordinator, Jeff Zients, tried to quell concerns about masks at a White House news briefing on Wednesday. The government has a stockpile of more than 750 million face masks available for health workers and first responders, it said.
Phil Woerner from Plymouth, Massachusetts, recalled that before the pandemic he could buy about 100 N95 masks for $5 when he lived in California. “We moved here and when COVID arrived it was impossible to find them,” He said. “Now there are the N95 and the KN95, only you have to pay.”
Even so, “I prefer that to getting sick and having to go to the hospital. Or infect someone else “, He said Woerner, who works with older adults for Meals on Wheels. “I don’t mind paying because that’s how I’m protecting other people “.
There are some signs that the omicron outbreak has peaked in New York City, although the number of cases remains high. In Europe, more than half the population may contract the virus within weeks, a World Health Organization official said.
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