'Better than a bandana or scarf': Expired face masks from stockpile OK, CDC says

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has begun shipping medical supplies to states from the national stockpile, but some state officials say some of the supplies already are expired, ABC News reported.

The Strategic National Stockpile is a supply of lifesaving drugs and medical supplies governed by HHS for use in a public health emergency. The number of warehouses and their locations are kept a secret for national security purposes. 

But the CDC still advised public health officials to use the expired items, saying "The respirators exceeding their manufacturer-designated shelf life are only being released due to the potential urgent demand caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency."

New York City has requested 2.2 million N95 face masks from the stockpile and has so far received 78,000. Many of them are expired, a New York City Health Department spokesperson told ABC News.  

Oregon has received about 10 percent of the supplies it's requested, and state officials said "many items" are past their expiration date. 

The national stockpile hasn't been replenished since the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, and a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Health told ABC News his state received N95 masks dating back to 2009. 

Expired masks have a failure rate of 5 percent to 10 percent, meaning they may not protect against particles or droplets and the elastic band could disintegrate.

A nurse from the Washington, D.C., area told ABC News, "Unless it's soiled or covered in sand dust, I'm not turning anything down. Anything is better than a bandana or scarf in these extraordinary times."

Read the full article here

More articles on supply chain:
FEMA: Defense Production Act for COVID-19 tests is no longer necessary
Trump signs order outlawing price-gouging, hoarding of medical supplies
Apple, Microsoft & more commit to donating millions of masks, PPE to US providers


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