Ebola: Three Million HazMat Suits on the Way

The liberal blogosphere is aflame with accusations that the Ebola outbreak is a fake crisis manufactured by right-wing media.

The World Health Organization has a different point of view: the group at the front lines of the Ebola epidemic is ordering 3 million hazardous material suits for health care workers and patients around the world to meet demand over the next 9 months.

More than 400 caretakers have contracted Ebola during the recent outbreak. The WHO estimates the outbreak could cause 10,000 new cases a week in Africa over the next two months. Officials say more than half of the cases of Ebola are fatal.

“Several U.S. companies are ramping up production to meet the exploding demand,” said Bill Gunderson, president of Gunderson Capital. “Lakeland is gearing up to provide the hazmat suits. In a recent earnings report the company said the “aggregate of orders won by Lakeland that are believed to have resulted from the Ebola crisis amount to approximately 1 million suits with additional orders for other products, such as hoods, foot coverings and gloves.”

WHO estimates it will need 300,000 suits a month.

“That is a lot of suits,” Gunderson said. “A lot of sick people.”

News of the massive increase in orders sent Lakeland’s stock soaring 37 percent on Thursday. That is up 202 percent for year to date.

The U.S. Department of State is receiving bids to supply 160,000 hazmat suits.

"Monthly production capacity for sealed seam ChemMAX and MicroMAX protective suit lines has increased by nearly 50% from August 2014, prior to Ebola-related product demand, to October 2014, and is on track for a 100% increase from that level by January 2015, with the ability for additional increases as needed,” said Lakeland in a release.

DuPont is another American player in the hazmat suit market. DuPont manufactures its suits out of Tyvek, a product familiar to many in the construction industry as a sheet wrapped around buildings for insulation. DuPont’s hometown paper the News Journal recently reported the “garments are for limited use. If they have not been damaged, altered, or contaminated, and pass user inspection, they can be worn multiple times. But once a suit is exposed to a hazardous contaminant, it must be disposed of according to local regulations.”

On the industry web site, ChemSuits.com, four suits sell for about $137.00.

“It is good that American companies are gearing up for the Ebola crisis,” Gunderson said. “But no amount of sales from an American company can change this: investors are spooked by the Ebola crisis, not necessarily because of the disease. But because of lack of faith in people responding to the disease. Investors know this administration is just not that skilled in these kind of large scale operations. They remember the ObamaCare rollout, not just the web site, but the subsequent mishaps. And they do not see any reason why this is going to be different as long as the same people are in charge.”

“It’s pretty simple,” Gunderson said. “Every new case of Ebola in the U.S. scares the market. And when the Ebola simmers down, so does the market. That is a compelling case for travel bans and quarantines to keep the disease out of the U.S.”

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