Navigating PPE Supply Chain Challenges During the COVID-19 Pandemic

An illustration of doctors wearing PPE in a hospital

Navigating PPE Supply Chain Challenges During the COVID-19 Pandemic

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there has been an immense increase in demand for PPE that’s not met by an equally increased supply. As a result, most healthcare facilities in the US are facing a shortage of PPE products, making it extremely difficult to navigate through the shortage in suppl the shortage in supply. But why is there still a shortage and how can we work around it?

Difficulties in Transport

In a New York Times article regarding the shortage in the supply of PPE products highlighted that the US imports most of its PPE stock. This is a problem for a number of reasons, especially as supply chains were affected due to the demand shock and timely transport became an issue. When the pandemic started, many countries stopped their export of PPE to meet the demand in their home country.

A Hike in Pricing

The reason why the US failed to produce PPE domestically was a problem was rising prices. Most of the PPE supply that the US imports is handled by middlemen who handle the logistics of delivery. Because of the immense increases in the demand for PPE in the US, and the knowledge that the product has now become a necessity, there’s nothing to stop the price shock that’s affecting the cost of PPE supply. This price hike is another reason for the slow supply of PPE products in the US when they’re needed most.

Now we know why there is a shortage in the supply, but how do we navigate this shortage effectively?


Surgeons wearing PPE while working

The Burn Rate Calculator

The most important thing to do in this shortage is to ensure you have a clear idea of how much PPE stock you’ll need. The CDC has made this extremely easy for US healthcare facilities by launching the PPE Burn Rate Calculator.

This is a software through which healthcare facilities can input their exact PPE stock as well as their current patient count. The software then uses the average consumption rate of these products and lets the facilities know exactly how long their stock will last, given the number of patients they have. This is an excellent way for hospitals and clinics to keep tabs on their stock of PPE and make sure they have just the amount they need.


Another great way to navigate this shortage is by reusing the PPE products that you can. It’s important to note that not all PPE products are reusable, but those that are, should definitely be used more than once.

According to the CDC, N95 masks are not reusable in most cases. But they’re not the only thing that can protect you from the virus. Using washable soft face masks eases the burden on the shortage in supply.

Protective face shields are also a great alternative to N95 masks as they do not need to be disposed of after use. N95 masks are only absolutely necessary in extremely high-risk situations, such as for hospital staff dealing with coronavirus patients. So, resort to alternatives where possible so that the needs of doctors on the frontlines are not compromised.

Get Your PPE Stock!

Another effective way to navigate this shortage is by buying personal protective equipment online through wholesalers who supply in bulk at cheaper rates and help you work around the price hikes imposed due to the shortage. We, at Safety 1st PPE, are the solution to all your PPE needs. With our wide range of bulk products and timely delivery, you can ensure that you’ll never be short of the PPE you need.



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