Coronavirus Outbreak and The Global Mask Shortage

Posted 1 year ago by Matthew

Coronavirus Outbreak and The Global Mask Shortage

It has been frightening to see how fast and steep the growth in victims of this new virus has been the last week.  I am shocked at the parabolic increase.  I am hoping that we will soon see an end to this growth. As an observer of online retail I started watching demand and price changes on protective masks on January 30th 2020.  Armed with Keepa data I noticed a huge pickup in buying of masks of all sorts. However, the 3M N95, N100, and P100 masks seemed to be where the demand was concentrated. I delve into the analysis more thoroughly in the attached YouTube video I posted mid-week. I have included links to the product pages on Amazon if you want to look at this yourself.

There was sustained pickup in demand on masks starting Tuesday January 21st.  On that day there were 446 reported cases and 9 reported deaths.  On the 22nd Demand surged and on the 24th it got scary as it looked like all online retailers were going to stock out. The delivery timeframes went from 2 day delivery to two week delivery. On January 24th they were selling what they didn’t even have in stock. Sites like were posting deliveries even a month out.

Amazon raised their prices 28% prior to stocking out.  Perhaps they were getting squeezed by their suppliers for higher prices and therefore had to raise pricing. Overall pricing looks like it’s up 400% or more.  It’s surprising to me since the US has largely been spared so far with only 8 cases thus far.  What will happen if 1000’s become infected? Will mask prices surge more?  It is disturbing.

It looks like there is a huge global shortage and I’m not sure how that can be fixed if billions of people are after a product that is a daily disposable.  How can the world supply 40 billion masks on a weekly basis? How can the world supply even a billion masks on a weekly basis? It doesn’t seem possible.  Therefore continued shortages in masks in the US and globally will seemingly worsen as the infected count grows.

One thing you can do is set in-stock email alerts at all you favorite online retailers as well as set Keepa Alerts on all the mask products that Amazon sells. When Amazon goes back in stock on a specific mask you will get a text message.

Here are some products to check out:

3M Particulate Respirator 8233, N100           

3M P100 8293                                                          

3M 8511 Respirator, N95, (10-Pack)               

3M 8210 N95, 20-Pack                                         

3M 8511HB1-C-PS N95 10-Pack        

3M 8511 Respirator, N95, Cool Flow Valve (2-Pack)

3M 8577CA1-C-PS Chemical Odor Valved Respirator, 2-Pack


Site for tracking virus:

And my Youtube Video on in-depth analysis of pricing changes:








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