Inside Story

What’s behind the shortage of coronavirus protective equipment?

As the pandemic spreads worldwide, some medical equipment is in short supply even in developed countries.

Face masks cost less than a dollar but are so scarce they are being snatched up during the coronavirus pandemic.

But this is not happening in the developing world. It’s taking place in some of the richest countries that are being challenged by a shortage of medical equipment.

World powers that are armed for the biggest wars are now fighting for basic protective gear.

France is reported to have seized masks meant to be shipped to Spain and Italy. The US is accused of diverting gear intended for German police.

An estimated 3.5 billion masks are needed by the American healthcare system to fight this outbreak. But there are not enough.

So, how’s that hampering the fight against the pandemic?

Presenter: Richelle Carey


Jehan El-Bayoumi – Professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine

Francis Faduyile – President of the Nigerian Medical Association

Amir Khan – Doctor in the National Health Service in the UK