Wall Street Journal quotes TPMG’s David Witt, MD, on mask shortage due to coronavirus


David Witt, MD, an infectious disease physician with The Permanente Medical Group, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal today on strains in the global medical-mask market due to the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

Officials in China, where the outbreak started, are buying up medical masks from Chinese factories that typically supply hospitals around the world, according to the story “Coronavirus Outbreak Strains Global Medical-Mask Market.”

Dr. Witt, who also co-chairs the Kaiser Permanente National Healthcare Continuity Clinical Workgroup, said that Kaiser Permanente is limiting the number of staff outfitted with masks to clinical groups designated to respond in the event of a local infectious-disease outbreak, meaning that fewer masks will be wasted in fittings.

Kaiser Permanente started preparing for mask shortages soon after the coronavirus outbreak became public, Dr. Witt said.

“It’s been one long day since then,” he told the Journal. “We are seeing signs the shortage is starting.”

Read the full story in the Wall Street Journal (subscription may be required).