Coronavirus fears lead to mask shortage in Nashville


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As the number of Coronavirus cases grows around the globe, the demand for protective masks is increasing as well.

“I can go to a website right now and all I am going to see is out of stock, out of stock, out of stock,” said Matt Parks, VIP of Williams Medical Supply, INC. in Nashville. “We probably get a phone call every 5 minutes and we are having people come in every 15 to 20 minutes asking for masks.”

Whenever Parks gets a shipment of masks they are gone within an hour or two.

“It is tough right now,” said Parks “We can’t predict when they come in. What style we are going to get. How much quantity. It is usually two cases at a time at most.”

There are a number of different masks on the market, but not all are meant to keep viruses or bacteria away.

“This is no protection against any airborne illness,” said Parks, as he held up a mask designed to keep out dust.

The CDC recommends what is called an N95 mask, which filters out 95% of the particles in the air.

“If you are going to get an N95 mask you want to make sure you see the national institute for occupational safety and health or the CDC guidelines it will say N95 on the box,” said Parks.

Dr. Buddy Creech specializes in pediatric infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, he says the best defense against Coronavirus is washing your hands.

“Even if we were to wear masks it is really the hands that are most effective at transmitting this virus and many others,” said Creech.

Now, as the virus continues to spread the question is, will there be enough masks if the virus gets a foothold in the United States?

The outbreak of the new coronavirus has continued to spread overseas, with at least 2,069 confirmed cases in at least 33 other countries.

Until now, health officials said they’d hoped to prevent community spread in the U.S. But following community transmissions in Italy, Iran and South Korea, health officials believe the virus may not be able to be contained at the border and that Americans should prepare for a “significant disruption.”

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