Want a face mask? Stores in Fort Myers are sold out, and online they're selling for thousands

Stores running out of supplies due t Coronavirus fears
Posted at 8:14 PM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 20:14:20-05

FORT MYERS — The Coronavirus is continuing to spread across the U.S., with new cases being identified here in Florida as well.

Fear over the virus is spreading just as quickly, causing people to rush to the stores to buy anything that might stop it. Carrell Pharmacy in Fort Myers is just one of dozens of businesses across our area that’s running out of supplies due to the Coronavirus scare, but owner Sam Patel said, it’s not just face masks that are flying off the shelves.

“All the hand-sanitizers, alcohol, wipes, you name it. Everything is gone, and I cannot get it from my suppliers," said Patel.

Patel has empty spaces on his shelves where all those products used to be. He said he’s called around, and everyone is in the same boat.

"Everybody’s out. I don’t know anyone in the town that has any of these items in stock," said Patel.

But you can find them online, if you’ve got the cash. The Coronavirus scare has caused prices to skyrocket. Regular paper face masks are going for more than $70 in some cases for a 20-pack. We also found a posting for 5,000 masks priced at more than $8,000, but Patel said, those don’t even offer you protection against the disease.

“To get real protection, you have to have an N-95 mask. Very hard to get, and it’s not easy to breathe while you have that mask on," said Patel.

If you want one of those, get ready to shell out some serious money. We found one posted on Amazon for just under $20,000, but Patel said there are other, cheaper ways to prevent the disease from spreading.

“You should drink at least a couple of sips of water every 10, 15 minutes, because even, let's say you have a virus stuck in your nose or throat. Drinking water can take them to the stomach, and anything that goes in the stomach gets killed," said Patel.

And according to the CDC, the best way to prevent the spread of disease is to regularly wash your hands with antibacterial soap.