“Christmas is over. So now the backup starts,” said Lloyd Armbrust, president of The American Mask Manufacturer’s Association.
VIRGINIE LEFOUR/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images
- High demand for disposable face masks could lead to product delays, according to two manufacturers.
- New COVID-19 cases have increased this month, partly due to the very transmissible Omicron variant.
- “Christmas is over. So now the backup starts,” said Lloyd Armbrust, president of The American Mask Manufacturer’s Association.
High demand for face masks amid the ongoing supply chain crisis could lead to shipping delays.
Greg Tsagris, president of Ohio-based mask producer Phoenix Quality Manufacturing, said that although his company has enough inventory to meet demand for now, supply chain disruptions could interfere with how soon Americans get their masks.
Lloyd Armbrust, president of The American Mask Manufacturer’s Association, said US mask makers are better suited to meet demand amid supply chain disruptions because they don’t rely on as many foreign shipments. His own company, Armbrust American, is vertically integrated and hasn’t dealt with product delays, he added.
But the supply chain disruptions in logistics mean Americans will likely have to wait longer to receive their face masks, Armbrust said.
“What happens is everybody tries to get everything out before Christmas and they basically burn themselves out to do so,” Armbrust told Insider. “Christmas is over. So now the backup starts.”
New COVID-19 cases have increased this month, in part due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Some scientists predict Omicron cases will peak in January and last a couple months.
The rise of cases have already led to a sharp rise in demand for rapid tests. Retailers like CVS, Walgreens, and Walgreens have already set limits to the amount of tests per customer.
The global supply chain has faced disruptions and slowdowns this year due to a variety of factors, including a lack of truck drivers and port congestion. The supply chain crisis has resulted in shortages for products like diapers and cars.
The rise in demand for masks stems in part from better data that supports wearing surgical masks or N95 masks over cloth ones, said Armbrust. Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst, recently told viewers a cloth mask won’t offer much protection against the Omicron variant.
Not only may getting cheaper masks from overseas take longer to get to consumers, Armbrust said masks produced in other countries may not meet American quality standards.
Tsagris said he expects American mask manufacturers to step up and meet high demand in the coming months if consumers can pay an extra price for domestic products.
“There’s more than enough supply here in the United States that can help take up any shortfall that may be coming from overseas,” he said.