N95 masks are skyrocketing in price as a result of a new potential recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC is considering changing its official recommendation to higher quality masks, like N95 and KN95 masks.
As a result, prices of these masks have surged at marketplaces like Amazon.com, a new Bloomberg report revealed on Wednesday.
A pack of 40 KN95 masks is now about $79.99, up from $16.99 in late November. A 50-pack of Kimberly-Clark N95 masks was priced at $57 compared to $23 in October.
As Omicron tears through the United States, many people are abandoning their old cloth masks in favor of higher quality masks. Kid-sized masks are the most in-demand, the piece notes, since many schools have continued holding in-person classes throughout the winter.
Bloomberg profiled one retail worker who spent $72 on 20 KN95 masks, “far more” than they would have paid months ago.
“I thought that was just kind of ridiculous because it’s something that is needed right now for protection, especially for people like me as a retail worker that a lot of people rely on,” the worker told Bloomberg.
While experts have spoken out about N95 masks being more effective for Omicron, the CDC has yet to make an official declaration.
The price hikes have forced many consumers to complain on social media about “price gouging”.
One former California resident who moved to the east coast said: “We moved out here and when Covid hit you couldn’t find them anywhere. You can find them now — the N95s and the KN95s — it’s just you’re going to pay.”