Not every superhero wears a cape; some wear gloves, facemasks, gowns, etc., that are necessary to fight the infectious pandemic. As the virus continues to spread, the frontline warriors that fight to mitigate and contain the virus face the highest risk of infection. To date, the number of caregivers infected has skyrocketed as they come into contact with COVID-19 patients, and to worsen the situation, there has been a shortage of personal protective clothing. Hospitals are already developing strategies to preserve PPE by reusing them. However, their efforts will be limited by the widespread hoarding and shortage of such equipment.
Growth in Infected Patients & Demand for Protective Clothing
The total confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally had reached over 55 lakhs with over 2 lakh recoveries and 3 lakh deaths. We can safely say that there is a direct relation between the rise in the number of COVID-19 patients and the demand for protective clothing, as increased patients would need more healthcare services. The current scenario of the PPE market is transitioning on a daily basis. The FDA has asked manufacturers to produce PPE products and non-surgical gowns as the Coronavirus pandemic makes its way across the globe.
Demand for personal protective clothing has reached unprecedented levels as there has been a global spread of COVID-19, and governments have to respond and prepare themselves accordingly. National stockpiling by majorly affected countries have also driven up the demand for PPE. In the first quarter of 2020, the UN has delivered over 1 million gowns, 6.4 million gloves, and 1.8 million surgical masks to countries across the world. UNICEF estimates that by the end of the year, the requirement could reach 1.1 billion gloves, 2.2 billion surgical masks, 8.8 million face shields, and 13 million goggles.
A volunteer organization named GetUsPPE that connects healthcare providers with supplies of PPE during the pandemic, conducted a study. The results showed that most of the 6,169 healthcare, hospitals, and other facilities that made requests for PPE kits through GetUsPPE asked for surgical masks (64%), N95 respirators (74%), face shields (60%) and gowns (61%). Most of the requests were from Metropolitan areas.
Below list highlights initiatives taken by various groups and organizations to meet the demand for personal protective clothing:
- Nissan USA joined with several other automakers to assist in fulfilling the demand for protective equipment for healthcare staff. They have begun manufacturing protective face shields for healthcare workers in Japan. Besides, they plan to produce 2,500 shields a month at the Nissan Research Center, the Nissan Technical Center, and the company’s Yokohama Plant.
- In Los Angeles, a street artist began producing PPE to help in meeting the pandemic demands. Goodfellow, a materials supplier, became aware of the project donated PET– strong, clear, and lightweight plastic that is required in the project.
- Across America, 3D printing is gaining attention to fight Covid-19. Several families from Montana to Louisiana, are manufacturing personal protective equipment in their garages and basements for public safety officers and hospitals.
- India, was not manufacturing PPE kits; however, due to the shortage, 2.06 lakh PPE kits are manufactured daily within months after the outbreak. Companies such as JCT Phagwara, Alok Industries, Aditya Birla, Gokaldas Exports, etc., are few of the domestic PPE kits manufacturers in the country.
Due to the exponential rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, the demand for protective clothing & equipment has skyrocketed. Various hospitals are experiencing a shortage of these products, which is challenging their efforts to fight the virus. Hence, several organizations are using their production plants to meet the lack. Moreover, 3D printing is also being used to amp up the production of the essential equipment. Thus, the ongoing trend is likely to continue, thereby resulting in bloom to the global protective clothing market.