Stop (over)buying gloves, alcohol swabs, and medical gowns!
There seems to be a new disturbing trend in the market nowadays. In the middle of COVID- 19 outbreak, people are equipping themselves with plenty of food and supplies they can buy, including unnecessary medical supplies that were supposed to be allocated to those medical workers who are exposed directly to the virus. With unreliable sources going around, lack of comprehension regarding crucial prevention methods and fear of being sick, people are not thinking clearly, leading to a massive shopping spree that is not helping anybody at all.
Times like these create panic and tend to make people forget the “bigger picture”. If everyone is stocking up gloves, medical gowns, alcohol swabs, and alcohol-based sanitizers at home, imagine what happens at the hospital. In fact, allocation of such resources during pandemics and other settings of absolute scarcity should be focused based on six values which are maximizing benefits, prioritizing health workers, performing wise-allocation or to make it simple, not doing a first-come-first-served business basis, be responsive to evidence, recognizing research participation and applying the same principle to all COVID and non-COVID-19 patients. Gearing health care workers, people who are involved in caring for ill patients and those who keep beneficial infrastructure operating, especially workers who face a high risk of infection with adequate medical resources should be the priority. It is not because they are somehow more “noble” and/or “worthy” but because they are essential in fighting and responding to the problem. If they are stripped out from their protective gear and incapacitated, higher mortality rates and years of life lost are to be expected.
Wearing a mask on a daily basis for healthy people, for example, is not recommended by both WHO and CDC. It is suggested for people with respiratory symptoms and/or those who are in close contact and/or taking care of infected patients. The same goes with the usage of medical gloves, gowns, and alcohol-based sanitizers. In fact, you don’t have to spend hundreds to millions to gain a false sense of security. Instead, you should put more attention to doing fundamental hygiene measures such as proper hand hygiene. Moreover, executing an adequate self-quarantine period at home will give a much bigger impact on eliminating person-to-person transmission process. So, if you are looking for a chance to contribute back to your society while doing nothing, this is the right moment for you to shine. Stay home, be wise, act smart and keep practicing good hand hygiene.