PPE. You’ve probably seen or heard this acronym floating around for the past few months, on T.V., the radio, street signs, social media, or perhaps you heard it from your doctor, or friends and family. But, what does it mean and why is it relevant? It stands for Personal Protective Equipment. That’s right, just like your own body armor, PPE is exactly what it sounds like- equipment to protect you from harmful bacteria in the environment. This includes, protective clothing, helmets, gloves, face shields, goggles, facemasks, respirators, and other equipment designed to decrease the spread of infection or illness. Along with various other things, PPE has become a staple of this unique period, quickly becoming the ultimate necessity we never expected to need.
Due to the spread of COVID-19, preventive care is vital now more than ever. And although many people refrain from wearing PPE, data proves that it does in fact decrease the likelihood of spreading/contracting germs. Several states have enforced mask wearing, while others have disregarded the evidence supporting its practical impact in societies. Since the start of the pandemic, New York was the state with the highest number of cases and rate of spread. However, after leaders began taking extensive measures to combat the growth, it has become one of two states in the entire country on track to contain COVID-19. Among the precautions they’ve taken to flatten the curve, is the required use of masks for workers and the public. Clearly, this is not the primary reason COVID-19 cases have reduced, however, there’s no denying that the barrier PPE provides is one that’s very much needed to prevent even the slightest bit of bacteria from infecting anyone. Contrary to western countries such as the United States and Europe, Asian countries have normalized the use of face masks for decades. On top of the regulations their leaders established amid the outbreak, their frequent practice of mask wearing also aided in flattening the curve in their countries.
Moreover, with the pandemic bringing the world to a pause, health professionals, government officials, community leaders, scientists, and researchers have all stressed the importance of PPE use. If used properly, it works as a barrier between an individual’s skin, mouth, nose, or eyes and viral and bacterial infections. To ensure healthcare workers are equipped with adequate PPE, the government agency regulates them and certifies that they meet their regulation. However, more recently, PPE has amassed a reputation for its shortage in the healthcare world. For a brief period, healthcare workers were in dire need for this equipment and many encouraged the public to hand over their clean masks, gowns and gloves. As of the present moment, these needs have been met in most facilities across the country, but the fight to find a cure for the coronavirus endures.
With protests and politics, the world almost seemed to have forgotten about the virus for a moment. All the commotion perpetuated a façade of a coronavirus free world. The reality is that it never disappeared and for some states, it became more prevalent than before. PPE might only be required in some places and for frontline workers, but the facts remain. Mask wearers are protecting themselves from others who may be infected, and more importantly, are protecting others from themselves. The more gloves being worn leads to less people contracting bacterial infection through skin to skin contact. Frontline workers wearing protective garments decrease bacterial spread, to themselves, those they work with, and anyone else they may encounter. With more PPE in use, the less germs, bacteria and infections being spread. With the decrease in this spread, we can flatten the curve completely.