As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic accelerates, global health care systems have become overwhelmed with potentially infectious patients seeking testing and care. Preventing spread of infection to and from health care workers (HCWs) and patients relies on effective use of personal protective equipment (PPE)—gloves, face masks, air-purifying respirators, goggles, face shields, respirators, and gowns. A critical shortage of all of these is projected to develop or has already developed in areas of high demand. PPE, formerly ubiquitous and disposable in the hospital environment, is now a scarce and precious commodity in many locations when it is needed most to care for highly infectious patients. An increase in PPE supply in response to this new demand will require a large increase in PPE manufacturing, a process that will take time many health care systems do not have, given the rapid increase in ill COVID-19 patients.
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Corresponding Author: Edward Livingston, MD, JAMA (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published Online: March 28, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.5317
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
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