As fears continue rising about the deadly coronavirus outbreak, Atlanta-based The Home Depot is limiting the number of protective respirators to 10 per purchase.
“Our merchandising and supply chain teams are working hard to replenish these items as quickly as possible,” Home Depot spokesperson Christina Cornell told Bloomberg Environment.
The respirators are used by construction and factory workers. One of the respirators’ manufacturers, Honeywell International, is reportedly concerned about shortages of the product, commonly known as N95 respirators, because they meet a federal health standard for filtering out 95% of airborne particles.
The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not recommending the use of face masks for the general public. The disease has not yet taken a foothold in the U.S., though CDC officials said last week they were expecting it to do so.
On Tuesday, China reported 1,886 new cases and 98 more deaths. That raised the number of deaths in mainland China to 1,868 and the total number of confirmed cases to 72,436.
A study by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention found more than 80% of the cases studied were mild and the number of new infections seemed to be falling since early this month.
But World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was too early to know if the reported decline would continue.
On Tuesday, Germany announced it was sending a second shipment of medical aid to China to help the Asian giant fight the coronavirus epidemic. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the government is sending 8.7 tons of aid supplies worth $162,000, including protection gear and disinfectants.
In major U.S. cities, Asian American businesses are seeing a decline in customers as fear about the viral outbreak from China spreads. City and health officials are trying to stanch the financial bleeding through information campaigns and personal visits to shops and restaurants, emphasizing that, with just 15 cases diagnosed in the entire country, there is no reason to avoid them.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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