Jun 8, 2020

Respiratory protection for health care workers: A 2020 COVID‐19 perspective

Abstract: As the US health care system began to respond to the coronavirus disease‐2019 pandemic, demand for respiratory personal protective equipment (PPE) increased precipitously, as did the number of users. This commentary discusses ensuing deviations from accepted respiratory PPE program practices, which potentially increased risk to health care workers. Such lapses included omitting user training and fit testing, provision of unapproved devices, and application of devices in settings and ways for which they were not intended. The temporary compromise of professionally accepted standards due to exigencies must not become the new normal. Rather, the current attention to PPE should be leveraged to enhance practice, motivate vital research, and strengthen professional, governmental, and institutional capabilities to control health care worker exposures to infectious hazards.

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