Medical Supplies Running Low

Feb 6, 2020 5:50 AM ET

Whoever thought catching a cold could turn out to be fatal? But that’s what thousands of Chinese residents found out within the past month. Catching a cold or cough can be a symptom of a deadly disease: Novel Coronavirus, the raging virus that’s struck nearly 500 people dead. Coronavirus has not only killed 494 people; it has also infected nearly 25,000 people in over 25 countries around the world.

Well over 50 million people are currently quarantined in China, and about 200 people in the US (all of who had been in Wuhan, China) are being quarantined in a military base in Riverside, California.

As of Monday morning, there were 11 confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus in the US. Six of these people with Coronavirus live in California.

Shortages of medical supplies are widespread in China; US companies are now shipping equipment such as masks, thermometers, hand sanitizers, and other necessary products to Chinese provinces. This is a little frightening, because no one knows when this epidemic will end, and it is still uncertain if it will spread to the US and sicken droves or not.

If it does, there is a definite possibility that the US will have a shortage of medical supplies. The good news is that as of now, the CDC has stated that the immediate risk of Novel Coronavirus to the American public is relatively low.

Many of the bigger factories which manufacture medical products such as masks, hand sanitizers, other aforementioned products, and more are located in China. The only issue is that China is not a functioning, bustling country these days; most people are not going to work. So, that means there is even less supplies being made.

Here’s the basic equation: Less supplies than usual is being manufactured. Much more supplies than usual is needed. The logical outcome of these two factors is that there is a shortage of medical supplies.

This Monday, the foreign ministry publicized the news that China ‘urgently needs’ medical supplies as soon as possible.

China can produce 20 million masks a day, but as large as that number sounds, it is inadequate. China is the most populous country in the world, with 1.43 billion citizens. That makes up nearly 20 percent of the population on planet earth. For this mind boggling amount of people, 20 million masks simply isn’t enough. At the rate of 20 million masks a day, it would still take a quarter of a year to produce enough masks for the entire China.

There is no real solution; only time will tell. We just have to hope – and hope hard! – that the disease doesn’t run wild in the US, because that would mean that another 330 million people would also require medical supplies.

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