DUNMORE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and around the world increases almost daily.
According to the CDC, the virus called COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can be transmitted from person to person. People are trying to prevent the spread of the virus by buying sanitary supplies. But local businesses are already noticing shortages, especially among masks.
“We have three wholesalers, none of which have any sort of masks or ability to obtain masks,” Tom DePietro, owner of DePietro’s Pharmacy, said.
Nicholas Rizzo, a dentist at Electric City Dentistry, says his dental group is also having a shortage of masks.
“We have been limited recently to three boxes a week right now, which is about 150 masks. It seems like a lot but with the number of patients we have, we can go through 150 masks quickly,” Rizzo said.
His office is now rationing masks but luckily, that’s the only shortage his office has seen so far. DePietro says a common misconception is that the virus spreads through respiratory droplets.
“However, it’s also surface contact, so you face masks would help if it’s passed respitoraly. But if you touch something and put your hand in your mouth, you’re probably more likely to get it,” DePietro said.
This is why there has also been a shortage in hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial wipes.
“We haven’t had the opportunity to order masks or hand sanitizers in the past month and I don’t see that loosening up anytime soon,” DePietro said.
But just because you can’t buy hand sanitizers doesn’t mean you’re out of options. DePietro is hoping to teach his customers how to make hand sanitizers at home.
“Essentially, aloe vera gel and isopropyl alcohol. And enough alcohol that would help kill the bacteria. So it’s something that can easily be done and it’s just another service that we’re offering our customers,” DePietro said.
But it’s not just over-the-counter supplies people are stocking up on.
“We have consumers that are concerned about will the coronavirus effect the pharmacy supply chain. So we do have some customers that are electing to buy four to five months’ worth of their medication in case that happens,” DePietro said.
DePietro says it’s good to be cautious.
“You know, I think they’re making the best possible decisions for themselves. I’m not sure I would recommend that to everybody but I would encourage people to take a look at everything they do on a daily basis and have a plan,” DePietro said.