Lindsey Major, who suffers from asthma, travels through Seattle looking for an N95 mask. Wildfire smoke covers the West Coast.
The 25-year-old boy from Mercer Island washed the store. Pharmacies, hypermarkets, grocery stores-nothing is provided. During work, a door was unintentionally opened overnight, filling the environment with dirty air. Her employer is a local TV news station, and there is only one mask left, which is not suitable for wearing.
Major said, “You can breathe, but it’s like a weight on your chest.” “My lungs seem to be full of wet belts.”
Major eventually posted a desperate request in a nearby Facebook group and obtained a precious N95.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of such masks to filter out fine smoke particles and Covid-1
In California, Oregon, and 9 other states, dozens of fires have killed millions of acres, marking the beginning of one of the worst wildfire seasons in history. According to data from the National Interagency Fire Center, as of Thursday, more than 3.7 million acres of land were burned due to active fires. Strong winds push the smoke to major cities, causing bright orange skies and pungent smells that last for several days.
Local and state health departments advise residents to stay indoors as much as possible. However, it is difficult to keep it closed, especially for basic workers, and most houses lack advanced air filters.
The Trump administration insists that personal protective equipment is adequate, but doctors and first responders throughout the pandemic have reported rationing and repeated use of masks.
Making N95 masks requires special equipment owned by few American companies. In April, US President Donald Trump used the Defense Production Act to force 3M Co., the largest US manufacturer, to increase production. The company expects to produce 95 million masks per month in October, up from 50 million in June.
According to a recent report, officials from seven of the eight states spoke with the government accountability office in July and August, and they said they had trouble purchasing personal protective equipment. However, the government has been drawing resources from the U.S. Strategic National Reserve, a major plan aimed at providing crisis medical supplies, including masks, directly to states. In August, the government transferred US$6 billion of the US$16.7 billion previously allocated to stockpiles to its “Quick” vaccine program.
The shipment of emergency masks has hardly put it in the hands of the public. Oregon spokesperson Janet Montesi said that last week Oregon requested the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide another 1.4 million N95 masks. This shipment is for emergency personnel, shelter operators and medical staff.
Due to poor air, some West Coast residents blamed the shortage on the federal government. Jim Murphy, a San Jose technical adviser who wants N95 masks, said the Trump administration should require companies to produce more products. He bought N95 masks in January, but gave them to relatives who do basic work.
Murphy said: “If you are like me and have a few dogs that need to go out for a walk, then you have no choice but to go outside.” well.”
Since at least March, hardware stores have been having difficulty purchasing N95 masks.
Aaron Bourne, general manager of WC Winks Hardware in Portland, Oregon, said that since January 17, his orders from 3M have been suspended. Winks Hardware, which specializes in hard-to-find items, sells Chinese standard KN95 masks when they are available. The store received 100 copies on September 11 and sold 15 copies that day. Soon after they reopened next Monday, the rest disappeared.
Other stores have basically abandoned. David Rider, who manages True Value in Grandview, Washington, said that the demand for air filtration products has surged. Since March, N95 and KN95 masks have been out of stock in stores.
Cavaliers said that he can get KN95 masks through his supplier, but each mask costs $5.
Despite the high demand, experts are divided on whether masks should be worn around wildfire smoke. Multnomah, the most populous county in Oregon, tells people to use them when outdoors. But Joel Kaufman, an epidemiologist and professor at the University of Washington, said these personnel should be reserved for first responders near the fire. He said that even if it is a patient, most civilians should avoid it.
Kaufman said: “The people we are most worried about-people with chronic lung disease-are not suitable for wearing these masks, because masks increase the amount of work required to get in and out of the air.” “The people who need it the most cannot tolerate it to some extent Wear it.”
Now, the air quality scores of most major cities are improving. On Mercer Island, Major’s asthma symptoms have improved, although she is worried about the future of herself and those at greater risk. She hopes that more neighbors will come forward and donate with masks.