Nopphon Pattanasri / EyeEm
eBay bans the sale of a number of items related to the novel corona virus outbreak after rising prices raised concerns about price cuts.
The online auction giant says it will "block" new entries and remove entries "that offer masks including N95 / N100 and surgical masks" with immediate effect. Hand disinfectants and disinfectant wipes are also prohibited.
According to eBay, these offers "may violate applicable US laws or regulations, eBay policies, and may be unfair to our buyers." Several states have anti-gouging laws that prohibit large price increases in an emergency.
In recent days, social media users have shared many screenshots of corona virus items that are offered on eBay at astronomical prices. A listing showed a package of 10 masks that were sold for $ 200. Another showed a bottle of hand sanitizer that was sold for $ 34.95 – plus $ 8.70 for shipping.
Rival websites, including Amazon, are also struggling with sky-high prices for coronavirus items. So far, however, they have not gone so far as to completely ban the objects.
Aside from concerns about price reductions, there is another problem with the storage of masks by consumers: this can lead to bottlenecks for people who actually need them. Healthcare professionals need masks to prevent patient infection during surgery and to prevent infected patients from infecting their surroundings. Some construction workers also need masks to protect themselves from fumes and dust.
At the same time, experts say that wearing a mask is of little use to a healthy person who hopes to avoid infection. A mask can prevent an infected person from passing a virus on to others through coughing or sneezing. However, experts say that wearing a mask doesn't do much to prevent viruses from spreading the other way.
"Seriously people – stop buying masks!" General Surgeon Jerome Adams tweeted late last month. "They are NOT effective in preventing the public from being caught #Corona virus, but if healthcare providers can't get them to care for sick patients, they and our communities are at risk! "