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According to the recent NBC News report, stockpile conditions for medical nitrile examination gloves in the USA are facing a massive shortage.
NBC News - October 29, 2020
The Trump administration was slow to take action amid a mounting shortage of medical gloves, experts said, setting in motion a scramble to stockpile the crucial personal protective equipment as Covid-19 rampages across the country.
The synthetic rubber “nitrile” gloves are a critical barrier to infection for health care workers on the front lines, but experts say the United States is poorly positioned to get ahead of a global shortfall of more than 200 billion.
“Gloves are just needed everywhere,” Mary Denigan-Macauley, the Government Accountability Office’s director of health care, said.
Denigan-Macauley told NBC News that her team pressed the Pentagon, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency over the summer about what they were doing to secure more personal protective equipment, especially nitrile gloves.
She said her team recommended the federal government come up with a plan to “mitigate these critical supply needs,” but that no such plan materialized.
“Health and Human Services is woefully behind on reaching their goal of the number of gloves that they would like to stockpile,” Denigan-Macauley said.
The Strategic National Stockpile, which is supposed to be the source of last resort after hospitals have exhausted their supplies, is running dangerously low on gloves amid soaring demand across the country.
HHS set a goal to have on hand a 90-day supply in the stockpile, or 4.5 billion gloves. But as of this week it had 2 million, according to department officials.
The department estimates the current demand to be at 8.7 billion a month, or 104 billion gloves per year.
Experts said bolstering the supply chain requires a delicate balancing act -- stockpiling too much of a sought-after medical product could drive up prices and make it more difficult for hospitals to obtain them.