What Is the Main Purpose of a Respirator, and Why Are They Rare?

COVID-19 exposed the treatment gaps in hospitals all over the world. As patients forced hospitals to be over-capacity, the respiratory illness showed how ill-equipped facilities were to manage severe symptoms. Ventilators became in-demand at such levels that some facilities were hooking equipment meant for one person to two individuals.

Respirators were also in short supply in most facilities. These mask-like devices get worn over the nose and mouth to prevent the inhalation of a harmful substance. Wearing one while in the presence of someone with a viral infection can prevent the spread of that disease.

That means it is harder to get infected with COVID-19 when wearing one.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using N95 respirators to prevent viral transmissions. This equipment type fits tightly around the mouth and nose when compared to surgical masks or DIY cloth products. Another option is called a PAPR, which stands for “powered air-purifying respirator.” It covers the entire head, using a blower to filter the air.

What Caused the Respirator Shortage?

After 85 million N95 respirators got distributed in 2009 to tackle the challenges of the swine influenza, American companies started shifting the production of this product overseas. Most of the contracts went to Chinese facilities, creating a cost-savings at the expense of losing the infrastructure for domestic capabilities.

The cost of manufacturing equipment that can produce the respirators needed to treat COVID-19 patients is $250,000 or – with a six-month lead time.

As companies sought cheaper production practices, they developed complex international supply chains at the expense of domestic capabilities. This action shrunk the labor pool and limited costs, but it also created unexpected fragility in the marketplace. 

Without access to the international supply chain, there is zero access to the respirators.

Then the chain-of-events that led to the global pandemic of COVID-19 contributed to the shortage of respirators. China is the home of several manufacturing centers that make this product. Since workers couldn’t function in their facilities with the viral outbreak attacking that country first, the first respirators went to Chinese front-line workers. That meant fewer were available for the future clusters and outbreaks that occurred.

Even though respirators are a low-value item that is easy to manufacture, there aren’t enough companies making this product. Those that are haven’t reached full capacity since January 2020. Until those issues get corrected, this personal protective equipment will continue to be rare.

Why People are Alarmed by Trump’s Plan to Defund the WHO

Although the move seemed like a reaction to the coronavirus response, the Trump Administration’s decision to defund the World Health Organization was a calculated move.

The U.S. is the most significant contributor to the 194-member WHO, funding it with $400 million each year. That means American taxpayers are responsible for about 20% of the budget.

Evidence might suggest that local officials in China attempted to cover up the severity of the new coronavirus. The director of the WHO stood by the heavy-handed tactics of the Chinese to contain the information and eventual response, and he also made decisions to honor rulers like Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe – despite oppressive efforts to manage the population.

What makes the administration’s actions so alarming is that Trump was praising the efforts of China to contain COVID-19 in February 2020. With his approval ratings at an all-time low, the response seems to be more about politics than individual health – and that’s why the rest of the world is alarmed by this response.

How to Manage Your Health with COVID-19

Taking steps to boost the health of your immune system is beneficial on any day. When living through a pandemic, it could be a critical set of decisions that could make the difference between staying well and getting sick.

The best thing to do is to keep moving. Physical activity improves metabolic and immune systems, promoting an increase of T-cells and antibodies while expelling toxins from the body.

Taking care of your nutrition is also essential during this time. Try to avoid foods with heavily-refined carbohydrates and starches to prevent blood sugar spikes from happening. You can also add supplementary products to manage any deficiencies that might be present with your eating habits. Items from brands like Metagenics, Livon Labs, and Terry Naturally can provide a stronger foundation from which to work.

Then make sure that you’re getting enough sleep each night. Resting works to reboot your body and mind, which means the immune system can work with greater efficiency. Getting at least seven hours of sleep each night makes you four times less likely to catch a cold.

We may not be in full control of the politics of COVID-19. Trump and other government leaders may choose to defund other agencies – or add money to others. What we can do is take care of ourselves and each other whenever illness strikes. If this story concerns you or you would like to know more, make sure to check out our list of top 100 news sites you should have bookmarked!

Patient Safety News Sources for Medical Practitioners

If you work as an essential employee in the healthcare industry, then following updated patient safety news can help to keep them and you protected from COVID-19 and future emergencies. Your time is limited because of the long hours you’re putting in to help others, which means bookmarking these resources can help you to go through current events quickly to pick out what you need.

Here are the best sites that you’ll want to review regularly so that you get the patient safety news sources you need to do your job.

Best Sources for Patient Safety News 

1. Health IT Analytics

This helpful website provides updated blog content regularly. One of its primary categories is patient safety. You’ll find information about algorithms that can track infections, how technology could stop antibiotic resistance, and what it takes to contribute useful data to future applications.

2. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

You can find practical tools available on this site to protect patient safety in your facility. You’ll find tips that can help to prevent medical errors, measure care quality, and case studies to use for developing new, localized approaches.

3. Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare (PSQH)

If you want COVID-19 safety updates, then consider adding this website to your regular reading routine. It doesn’t try to deny the truth of what is happening in the world. An April 9 post on the site talks about how up to 25% of rural hospitals are at a high risk of closure because of the coronavirus emergency. Daily updates ensure you have real-time access to the information you need to do your job.

4. Patient Safety Movement

This site recognizes that a collaborative effort is needed from everyone to create successful outcomes. That’s why the information is available to tech companies, private-pay institutions, government employees, and patients. Preventable medical errors contribute to over 200,000 deaths in U.S. institutions annually at the cost of $1.44 trillion. The data provided here works to counter that issue.

Taking care of people is a full-time job during a pandemic. Everyone can do something to prevent the spread of disease. When we can recognize that we’re all in this together, then each day becomes an opportunity to be the change we want to see in the world. Staying up-to-date on patient safety news is one more way to help others.

How eSports Filled the Gap During the Coronavirus Outbreak

The World Health Organization recommends that people stay home to play video games so that the novel coronavirus doesn’t have an opportunity to continue spreading.

Sports leagues are taking that idea seriously around the world. With professional athletes sidelined by stay-at-home orders, eSports are taking the place of physical games in the era of COVID-19.

Although eSports have been gaining in prevalence in recent years with games like Overwatch offering competitive salaries for players, it hasn’t had an opportunity like the one that is available now. If you look online or on sports television today, you’ll see video game NASCAR races, basketball tournaments, and more.

Video Games Provide Stress Relief

Being stuck at home is challenging for many families. Parents have had homeschooling forced on them while trying to maintain full-time employment by telecommuting. Essential employees have struggled to find childcare options that take safety measures to prevent disease spread. 

These stressors can severely impact a person’s physical and mental health. The global community used sports as a way to promote togetherness and a release of stressful emotions.

Now video games are taking on that role.

Even this world experienced the impact of COVID-19. The eMLS Cup was supposed to take place on March 21 in Austin, TX, but it had to be postponed. The NBA 2K League also decided to delay the start of its season.

Gamers aren’t sitting idle. Friendly matches are taking place all of the time. When you are on a PC, a preferred console, or playing with family members locally, the diversion of eSports makes the world feel like it isn’t as dangerous of a place.

Playing eSports Gives Pro Teams Fresh Content

Traditional athletes have started playing eSports as a way to generate new content for their employers. You can find them playing their sport online, first-person-shooters like Call of Duty, and a variety of other games that create buzz within the fan base.

Although in-person events have been canceled, including the Overwatch regular season, remote opportunities to play still exist. That means amateur players have a chance to qualify for the next professional tournament.

It also means that the legitimacy of eSports is no longer in question. As more people turn to video games to pass the time, they are finding that they can be just as entertaining to watch as it is to play.

What Can We learn About Disease From Asia?

Taiwan saw reflections of the SARS outbreak of 2003 in the recent coronavirus emergency that impacted the world. The government was unprepared for this  health issue, but it and the people of the country were ready for a second battle with the disease.

At one point in mid-March, Taiwan had only 50 cases of the coronavirus and one death attributed to COVID-19. On that same day, China had over 80,000 cases, and almost 3,200 deaths in their official tallies – and intelligence reports suggest that those figures could be twice as large.

What did this island nation (or Chinese state, depending on your perspective) do differently to contain COVID-19?

Asia Took the Disease Seriously When No One Else Was

Asian countries outside of China took the coronavirus infection rate seriously once data started trickling out of China. South Korea and Singapore followed a similar model that Taiwan implemented to keep the population safe.

These are the lessons we can learn from that early approach to saving lives.

1. Be Alert and Take Proactive Steps for Containment 

Taiwan heard that a severe pneumonia was in Wuhan. China notified the World Health Organization on December 31 that this issue was spreading through the city. That action caused Taiwan to immediately order passenger inspections for any flights arriving from the region. Then the country received permission from Beijing to put boots on the ground to investigate the issue on January 12. 

2. Have a Command Center Operating Immediately 

Taiwan activated its command center on January 20. That action allowed the island to implement a series of epidemic control measures. Over 120 items were part of the plan to protect personal health, including fund allocation and school disinfection. South Korea took the next step by tracing infections and setting up secure testing sites to limit the spread of the disease.

3. Take Immediate Action 

Taiwan banned arrivals from Wuhan only five days after the island confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus. That was earlier than any other country. Then it did the same for almost all flights from China. By limiting access to the country, travelers couldn’t spread the infection without controls in place. 

The countries that use technology to fight the virus are seeing the most success. Temperature monitors, QR code scanning of a travel history, and mandatory two-week quarantines worked to limit the spread. Then supply availability became a priority. By ensuring masks and other personal protective equipment was readily available, everyone could have what was needed to limit the spread of COVID-19.

What Happens Now That the Tokyo Olympics are Postponed?

The Olympic Games had never been postponed before 2020 during times of global peace. That’s why the coronavirus postponement is such a historic event. The $10 billion showcase is now scheduled to take place in the summer of 2021. It looks like this is a firm date, but things may change, so make sure to bookmark one of these top 100 news sites so you don’t get caught off guard.


Thomas Back is the president of the International Olympic Committee. He and Abe Shinzo, who serves as the Prime Minister of Japan, decided that an outright cancelation would be too costly for the nation to bear. The health and wellness of the competitors also required safeguarding, which is why the community decided to put the games back a year.

By giving a 12-month delay, athletes will have time to get back to training so that they are ready to compete at a world-class level once again.

How to Manage Your Time When Staying at Home

Athletes can stay in shape by adapting to a home workout routine while managing the coronavirus challenges in each community.

Weight resistance, cardiovascular training, and specialty techniques keep the human body prepared for the rigors of sport. These world-class athletes also need facilities and a team of coaches and fitness assistants to maximize their progress, which is why the decision to postpone the Olympics occurred.

The average person who finds themselves stuck at home with a stay-at-home order can follow a similar process to maintain health and wellness.

Products from brands like Source Naturals, Blender Bottle, or Results RNA can give your body the fuel it needs to keep going. Whether you work on household chores, a new hobby, or take the dog on more walks around the neighborhood, these tools can support the nutrient profile you need for success.

Will the Olympics Continue As Planned in 2021?

Since the Summer and Winter Olympics have been on alternate two-year rotations since the 1990s, there isn’t a need for winter athletes to be concerned about the state of the world today. 


Summer athletes are currently at the mercy of the coronavirus for their needs. If it doesn’t go away before legitimate treatment options become available, then the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 may not happen either.

If that postponement becomes necessary, then the International Olympic Committee will likely restore the combined 4-year cycle of the games as before.

That is in the future. Our focus must be on today, and that is why using the best products to care for your body is essential right now.

Locust Swarms Leading to a Humanitarian Crisis in Africa

Locusts are destructive migratory pests that swarm countries in their search for food. When they arrive, entire crops can be lost overnight. With many nations in Africa already struggling with food insecurity, the presence of these insects can change lives instantly.

Farmers in Niger experienced this issue first-hand in 2005. As families were about to harvest their crops, swarms of desert locusts came through the area. It took less than a day for the insects to destroy everything. Truckloads of people left the region less than a month later because there was no food left to eat.

The worst outbreak of locusts in decades is happening right now in Africa. Nothing like what is happening today has been seen in Kenya for at least 70 years. Somalia and Ethiopia are dealing with problems that haven’t happened in a generation. These countries are seeing crops and pastured wiped out. 

Why Is the Desert Locust Such a Destructive Insect?

The reason why locust swarms are so problematic is because of the appetite of the insect and the distance it can fly every day.


A single locust can travel over 100 miles in a day. It can also eat its own weight in food. That means a swarm of these insects the size of New York City could eat as much food as the entire human populations of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York.

What is happening in Africa today is unlike anything that anyone has seen in the region for a long time. The countries that are getting hit the hardest are also the ones that need food the most. Millions of people are already enduring the impact of drought, floods, and violence. 

Having locusts take their food away could be the final straw that leads to devastating consequences. 

What Happens If We Don’t Take Action?

Today’s locust swarms must get under control by around the end of March. That’s when the beginning of the planting season starts because the rain comes back to Africa. Since the insects are very mobile and the terrain is challenging, logistical difficulties will always exist.

If nothing happens to control these insects, the combination of crops and the additional rain could increase their population numbers by 500 times in the next three months. 

The FAO seeks up to $76 million from donors and organizations to help fight this outbreak of locusts. As the insects spread, the amount required will likely rise. If you’d like to contribute to this effort, then you can donate directly to the FAO emergency fund.
This is not the first country to deal with insects. Japan has to deal with mosquitoes, although they are a different type of threat. It is unknown if Africa or nations dealing with similar threats can adapt methodologies from Japan or other nations to combat pest problems.

Why Freedom of Speech in China is Not a Right

Americans see the presence of freedom of speech in society as a right. In China, this approach to life is considered a privilege.

Chinese authorities see limitations on the freedom of expression as being a way to monitor potentially problematic social issues. Although the government does tolerate some criticism, the right to offer opinions freely only exists in specific categories of people.

That means you must be in a particular class, a “free speech elite,” to have the right to express yourself in China. Even with that opportunity, it can only happen within a government-controlled forum.

Most of the people who are considered part of that class are the senior party and government leaders and those with their patronage. Some academics and journalists receive limited access to this privilege.

What Rights do Ordinary Citizens Have?

An ordinary citizen who doesn’t fit into any of those groups does not have any freedom of political expression in China. Although frustrations and criticism can be expressed in private, anything that’s said or published publicly would most likely result in prosecution for subversion.

Chinese officials say that anyone can publish works in the country, but it is the freedom to submit their piece only. If the government-operated commissions or media don’t want to take the work, then there is no way to legally exercise their right. The government says that these individuals can enjoy their work by themselves or give copies to their family and friends. 

Some individuals and groups who don’t receive government authorization to publish still manage to get periodicals and books printed on a small scale. This process requires subterfuge and often violates Chinese law.

How Harsh Are the Chinese Laws?

The People’s Daily, which is the official newspaper of the Communist Party in China, reported that a court in the Anhui province sentenced two men to prison for the unlawful operation of a business.

The two men were only identified by the names of Yu and He. They received prison terms of seven and nine years respectively. Their crime was the publication of love poems to the general public without obtaining authorization from the government first.

Some citizens can post to bulletin boards and forums to exercise their publication “rights,” but these online mechanisms are still tightly controlled by the government. All posts are carefully and continuously monitored, and anything deemed to be inappropriate is immediately removed.

What the Looming Plastic Production Increase Means for Earth

Today’s largest oil companies are ramping up their production to reach full capacity. That means our planet will soon be awash in new plastic products. That means we will continue to see issues with pollution, including the oceanic garbage gyres that distribute microplastics throughout the food chain.

Public concerns about the looming plastic production increase have people reaching for metal straws, reusable bottles, and canvas bags. Those efforts may be noble, but it is also creating more potential pollution. Petrochemical production now accounts for 14% of all oil used in the world today.

Why Are Oil Companies Focused on Plastic Production?

The petrochemical industry includes plastic production. Up to 50% of the oil on the market could get directed toward this product by 2050. Shell, Aramco, and ExxonMobil all see plastics made from their oil and gas as being the future of their industry as more people look to use renewal resources.

Americans see significant growth in the plastics market because of the country’s fracking boom and abundant feedstocks of ethane.

Since natural gas prices have remained low, energy operations have been losing money. Converting their product into plastic creates a new revenue stream.

It’s a new way to monetize fossil fuels. That’s why plastics are not going away any time soon.

Over $200 Billion in Investments Have Reached the United States

During the decade of the 2010s, investors put more than $200 billion into over 300 plastic and petrochemical projects in the United States. This work includes the building of new facilities, expansion projects, and infrastructure improvements.


Several facilities are still in the permitting process. Experts believe that if even 25% of the ethane cracking facilities get built, our planet will become locked in a future of plastic that could send our societies in the wrong direction.

Plastics and climate change are often seen as separate issues. The production methods often generate greenhouse gases because the combustion of fossil fuels is necessary to produce items.

The rate of global

 linked to plastics could be the equivalent of 300 coal-fired power plants by 2030. That means 1.3 billion tons of carbon could reach the atmosphere.
That means recycling programs, plastic product bans, advocacy, and other efforts to reduce consumption will be necessary to limit the impact of this industry. Even if every solution were to start today, we must be prepared to live in a world with even more pollution before things have a chance to start getting better.

A Brief History of North Korea’s Nuclear Missile Program

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the only country to withdraw from the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The goal of North Korea’s government is to develop and possess sophisticated materials for self-defense, nuclear power, and offensive capabilities.

North Korea has made repetitive violations of the international norm against nuclear testing since 2000. A total of six tests have occurred, with the last in 2017 supposedly a thermonuclear device. 

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The United Nations Security Council has passed several resolutions that condemn the nuclear missile program of North Korea. Increasingly harsh sanctions against the country are intended to stop the development of these weapons. It has not quelled the threat.

North Korea Has 60 Years of Development Experience

The nuclear program in North Korea began in 1952 when the government established the Atomic Energy Research Institute. The country also became a founding charter of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in the Soviet Union in 1957.

North Korea received extensive assistance in the early 1960s from the Russians, including the construction of the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center. The small reactor that the USSR installed became the first to produce radioisotopes in the country. It would become a training device for future scientists.

China helped in the 1960s to further develop the program, but most of the arsenal today comes from internal research instead of outside assistance.

Changes in the 1990s Led to Today’s Conflicts

North Korea signed a safeguards agreement in 1992 to help denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. The government declared at the time that they had one small plutonium sample that came from reprocessed spent fuel rods.

International inspectors found that North Korea had reprocessed plutonium on at least three occasions. When the IAEA requested access to two suspected nuclear facilities in the country, the government declared them to be military sites.

This declaration led to North Korea withdrawing from treaties involving nuclear weapons. Technicians removed more spent fuel rods in 1994 without IAEA inspection or consent. That process started the first round of sanctions against the country.

Summits during the Trump Administration helped to thaw relationships, but the existence of a covert uranium enrichment site in 2018 indicates that the government is still concealing information.

The goal for the rest of the world is still to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. North Korea still feels that a need exists to defend themselves. That’s why the international community continues to be in a stalemate position.