From painters to politicians – The Glow Up of n95 masks (and covid tests).

For more information, you can contact Richie Hecker at

Just a few short years ago, masks were not a thing. The n95 mask used to be used just by painters and medical professionals.  At a construction site, you would see the painters scaling the side of a building wearing a funny looking mask, or at the hospital you would see a doctor wearing a 3ply mask. Rarely would you ever even see a n95 mask. Well, okay, maybe you watched CSI or another crime scene show and saw one of the people there wearing a n95 while investigating a crime scene.

Then Covid came, and masks sold out everywhere. In April 2020, unless you were a painter or a doctor, you didn’t have a mask. Even if you were a painter or a doctor, you probably ran out anyway. The average medical supplier held just 3 weeks of inventory on hand at any given time. Then when Covid hit, and that is all anyone could talk about. Masks.

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A 3ply mask used to cost 2-5 cents and they shot up to sell for $1.25 for a single 3ply. N95 masks cost $1 and went up to $7 a mask or more. This all happened in the span of a few weeks. Why did pricing go so high? It was a combination of factors. First the raw material, melt blown went on shortage and pricing went up 40X in one month. Next, everyone needed products yesterday, so shipping went from shipping by sea to shipping by air. A n95 mask would have cost <$.05 to ship by sea and went up to cost up to $.94 to ship by air. Finally, supply and demand took over and products got bid up. Then it seems 2021 came along and the mask disappeared from public discourse.

People stopped being scared of the virus and stopped buying masks. As expiration dates started nearing, mask pricing tanked and you could buy a whole box of 3ply for $.15. At the peak, that same box traded as high as $62.50. That is a drop of over 99%! Now that box of masks is trading around $2/box, up over 10X from the bottom. $2/box is about what it costs now to produce and ship a box by sea so things are getting back to normal.

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However, it seems masks are once again in vogue and n95 masks are selling out everywhere. Is it because of Omicron? Well, partially. The CDC originally said people should wear face coverings of any form, including masks without filters to prevent covid, and now the CDC put out new comments saying people should wear a n95 or KN95 to prevent Covid.  The irony is that most people knew this already but the government announcement to officially say so, got people to wake up and start buying n95 masks again.

So what do we learn? Well first government announcements drive demand. Whenever the government makes an announcement, pay attention, the items may sell out. Second, whenever there is a shortage, shipping becomes an issue. It takes up to 100 days to produce and ship by sea, but can take <10 to produce and ship by air. This can lead to a fast rise in pricing to make up for logistics costs.

You may choose to mask or not to mask, that is your question to ask yourself. However, if you do mask, which you probably should, which to go for? An n95 stands for a 95% filter. That is a whole heck of a lot better than a 0% filter in a cloth mask.

Lucky for everyone, pricing is basically around where it was 3 years ago, and everyone can now afford a n95, try it out and see what you think.

For more information, you can contact Richie Hecker at

About Traction and Scale

Traction & Scale LLC is a tech enabled medical supplier. Traction & Scale LLC specializes in sourcing and distributing hard to find items. Traction & Scale has been working in cross border commerce for 10 years, operating in 10+ countries. The TS Health division has been sourcing and manufacturing medical supplies since before the pandemic and has delivered products to government agencies, leading retailers and major corporations. Traction & Scale team is led by Richie Hecker. Richie has advised governments and legislators on economic development for and technology and has written for Wall Street Journal, HuffPo, Fox, TechCrunch and Observer on the fusion of politics and entrepreneurship. You can visit here to know about the xoilac . On the other hand, you can also get more essential info on cihansemiz. Here is the best news portal lawyersupport where you can get the latest news around the world.

Richie Hecker

The Traction & Scale LLC KRS T-1000 n95 Mask, listed on CDC NIOSH website

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