Necessity Made COVID-19 the Mother of Inventions

Vetting new technology and products is a complicated endeavor that takes hours if not weeks before a decision can be made as to whether to bring products into a health care facility. The COVID-19 pandemic did not give health care the luxury of time.

COVID-19 rocked the world of health care so much that the system turned not only to the government but also to private industry for help. Many businesses wanted to contribute in some way with the cleaning and disinfecting of products, masks, and other personal protective equipment (PPE). Bars started making hand sanitizers when there was a shortage. Oil companies in Texas supplied barrels of hand sanitizer to rural critical access hospitals, which could have harmed health care workers. Storing 50 gallons of hand sanitizer in a hallway rather than in a fire-rated cabinet could cause it to explode under certain conditions because of the amount of alcohol it contains. It is unclear whether hospitals were checking the ingredients of the hand sanitizer that had been donated to them. As months went by, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned some hand sanitizers because they contained toxic chemicals, such as methanol/1-propanol, or because the alcohol level was found to be too low to be effective.

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