PANIC is rife in Spain’s Mallorca as several pharmacies have reported that they have completely sold out of clinical face masks since the outbreak of China’s deadly coronavirus.
The swift spread of the disease has created a shortage of the masks, since there is hope that the respiratory shield can prevent transmission of the flu-like infection.
After the epidemic reached the United States and into Europe with several suspected cases also highlighted in Spain, major cities across the world have complained that there is now a serious need for the masks as mass hysteria sets in.
In New York, shops have reported a surge in their sales and top online retailers such as Amazon have restocked the items in order to meet the high consumer demand. Civilians in China, where coronavirus originated, have been in a state of panic since many regions in the country have sold out of the masks.
Now in Palma de Mallorca, pharmacists are bewildered by the panic where they have reported that more and more people are coming into their pharmacies asking for the covers. The Apothecary Cooperative, which supplies 80% of the pharmacies in the Balearic Islands, have recognised that in recent weeks there has been an increase in the demand for the masks and they assure that they will have enough stock to serve them.
Face masks have been scientifically proven to be one of the most effective prevention measures against the disease. Dr. Jordi Reina, the Head of the Virology Unit of the Son Espases Hospital in Mallorca explained that the use of a mask could prevent up to 80% of the infection since it is typically transmitted by the respiratory route.
However, the masks don’t offer full protection against airborne viruses and small particles can still pass through the material in addition to the masks leaving users’ eyes exposed. It should also be remembered that the virus can be spread before symptoms are presented so it is therefore recommended to frequently wash your hands, avoid contact with your eyes, nose or mouth, and to sneeze or cough into a tissue rather than in your bare hands.