Cureus. 2020 Jun 25;12(6):e8837. doi: 10.7759/cureus.8837.
The supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) is inadequate throughout the United States and the world. This is especially true of N95 respirators. The cost of PPE is high. There are numerous cases of providers working with inadequate PPE and being disciplined on complaining. In the United States, thousands of providers have contracted COVID-19, in part due to inadequate PPE. Extended use and reuse of N95 respirators has been permitted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The N95 respirators can be sterilized utilizing vaporized hydrogen peroxide, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, or dry heat at 70°C-80°C. The risk to providers due to inadequate PPE increases with their age and presence of comorbidities. African-Americans and Latinos are at a greater risk. CDC recommends that in the absence of appropriate PPE, "exclude healthcare personnel at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 from contact with known or suspected COVID-19 patients." Providing care without appropriate PPE should not be a condition of employment for any provider, especially for the ones in high-risk category.