Mike Alkire is the president of Premier, which works with manufacturers and distributors of PPE.
He says there are too few places making the raw material needed for gowns, also used to make masks.
“The primary good to make up a gown is called SMS,” Alkire said. “That SMS for the most part, outside a couple of domestic manufacturers, is produced in like five factories in China and India.”
As gowns become available, they can be priced out of range for health departments, or just impossible to find.
“People are going to go out and overbuy all these products just like what happens at your grocery store, and what happens at Costco,” Alkire said. “So that puts a hell of a lot of strain on supply chain that’s already somewhat fragile.”
So people are getting creative to fill the gown gap.
Volunteers at the Corvallis Brigade in Oregon are stitching together makeshift gowns from Tvyek house wrap designed to keep moisture out of homes.