Coronavirus: Amazon pulls millions of items including masks for falsely claiming effectiveness against disease
Amazon is reportedly cracking down on sellers who are taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak. In a statement to People on Monday, the e-commerce giant revealed that it had removed or blocked at least a million products on its website that they claimed falsely advertised its effectiveness to battle against the deadly virus.
A spokesperson for Amazon also told the magazine that it had pulled tens of thousands of products from merchants suspected of inflating their prices amid fears over the COVID-19. “Amazon has always required sellers to provide accurate information on product detail pages and we remove those that violate our policies,” the statement read.
That said, the news was first broken by Reuters on Thursday. The announcement came after Wired magazine published an article noting how prices for protective face masks had “sharply increased” in the wake of the global health epidemic. One merchant was found to be selling a package of 100 disposable masks for over five times their original price.
The outlet reported that in yet another instance, a box of 20 particulate respirators was being sold $70 after originally being priced at $17. The same masks were being sold by some other independent merchants for a whopping $132 -- almost eight times the original price.
After reports that the demand for protective gear amid coronavirus fears has resulted in an alarming shortage of face masks for health care professionals.
Considering, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams is now urging Americans to “STOP BUYING MASKS.”
“Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing the general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!” he tweeted Saturday.
“The best way to protect yourself and your community is with everyday preventive actions, like staying home when you are sick and washing hands with soap and water, to help slow the spread of respiratory illness," he advised, adding, "Get your #FluShot– fewer flu patients = more resources for #COVID19.”
There is little that a mask can do to help protect against the coronavirus, several health officials claim. According to them, people are more likely to contract the disease by coming in contact with a contaminated surface.
Last week, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there is "no role for these masks in the community."
“These masks need to be prioritized for health care professionals that as part of their job are taking care of individuals," Redfield insisted.